Public pools & spas

Ensuring all public pools and spas are safe for public use.

With our Mediterranean climate and all-round Aussie love of the water, swimming pools and spas are extremely popular. It’s important that public pools and spas (such as those in Aquatic Centres, hotels and fitness centres) are kept safe for patrons to use.

Risks associated with swimming pools and spas

If public pools and spas are not properly maintained, they can become a source of harmful microorganisms that can cause illness to users.

Without realising it, people and the environment can introduce pollutants to pool water, which may lead to the spread of infectious diseases. Poorly maintained chemical levels can also cause problems such as skin rashes and irritated eyes. Managers of public pools are responsible for ensuring that the facilities they are providing are safe and hygienic.

Spa pools can also carry a risk of infection if they are poorly maintained. The warm aerated water provides an ideal environment for the rapid growth of many undesirable microorganisms.

Spa pools have large numbers of people entering a small volume of water, therefore the organic and microbial loading may become more concentrated. This can have dramatic and adverse effects on the water quality, potentially placing the health of users at risk.

Keeping pools and spas safe

All swimming pools and spas used by the public in the city and North Adelaide are routinely inspected by the City of Adelaide’s Environmental Health Officers (EHOs) to check for compliance with the South Australian Public Health (General) Regulations 2013 and associated standards:

To assist Councils and pool operators, the Department of Health has published two codes:

These codes assist operators of public swimming pools or spa pools to ensure that pool management and water quality are maintained at a standard that does not jeopardise the health or wellbeing of pool users.

An inspection by an EHO involves an on-site analysis of several water quality parameters, including free chlorine, total chlorine or bromine, total alkalinity, temperature, pH and cyanuric acid (outdoor swimming pools only).

Pool maintenance records are also checked during an inspection to ensure that maintenance procedures meet the requirements of the Public and Environmental Health Regulations.

Further reading

The following fact sheets provided by SA Health provide further information issues faced by public pool and spa managers and users.