Swimming and water-based recreation are a popular way to have fun, stay active and keep cool in Greater Bendigo. Maintaining water quality at aquatic facilities is very important to minimise the risk of transmitting infections and to keep our community safe. Water quality in public aquatic facilities relies heavily on two protective measures.
- Maintenance of chemical additives that work to minimise pathogenic microbes in the water.
- Healthy swimming practices by bathers such as pre-swim showering, avoiding swimming when ill or after recent illness, and helping young children avoid faecal accidents with close monitoring and support.
Updated Public Health and Wellbeing Regulations
The changes are designed to reduce illness and disease outbreaks associated with aquatic facilities and improve oversight of aquatic facilities with infection control risks.
The new regulations are effective from December 14, 2019, replacing the Public Health and Wellbeing Regulations 2009. The new regulations apply to two categories:
Category 1, a swimming pool, spa pool or interactive water feature that –
a. is used by members of the public, whether free of charge or on payment of a fee; or
b. is used in association with a class or program that is offered free of charge or on payment of a fee; or
c. is located at the premises of an early childhood service, school or other educational institution; or
d. is located at premises at which residential aged care services are provided; or
e. is located at any of the following premises:
i. a public hospital;
ii. a multi-purpose service 1;
iii. a denominational hospital;
iv. a private hospital;
1 The functions of a multi-purpose service are the provision of any or a combination of the following – (a) public hospital services; (b) health services; (c) aged care services; (d) community care services; and further criteria as defined in the Health Services Act 1998.
Category 2 applies to businesses such as hotels, motels and residential apartment complexes with aquatic facilities used by their guests.
Category 1 Aquatic Facilities
In order to operate a Category 1 aquatic facility, the facility must be registered with the relevant local Council.
To apply to register your Category 1 aquatic facility, please use this application form.
Fees apply to registration. For further information on fees and other charges related to registration of an aquatic facility, please contact Environmental Health.
Operation Requirements for Aquatic Facilities (Category 1 & 2)
Operators of Category 1 and 2 aquatic facilities have an obligation to:
- Maintain aquatic facility water quality to reduce the risk of transmitting infectious diseases
- Ensure all staff operating the facility are adequately trained to keep water quality safe
- Develop and implement a water quality risk management plan
- Test water quality regularly when the facility is open for use
- Periodically test for disease causing microbes present in the water
- Keep record of test results and corrective actions taken on water quality
- You may receive periodic visits from a Council Health Officer to discuss the operation of your pool and how you are protecting the community from infectious diseases
Training and knowledge
There are no minimum training requirements for operators of aquatic facilities, but it is important to understand how water quality is impaired, how to maintain water quality and how to correct water quality issues. Various certificates and short courses are available for aquatic facility water quality management. On the job training and staff experience can all contribute toward your team having the necessary skills and knowledge to maintain a safe water environment.
Category 2 aquatic facilities may find more information on water quality management by speaking to their local pool supply shop or pool service agent.
It is worth your time to reflect on what level of skills and knowledge are required to keep your aquatic facility safe.
Water quality risk management plans
Changes to the regulations have also introduced a new requirement for water quality risk management plans (WQRMP) to be developed and implemented by aquatic facilities. The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) have developed a template that you may choose to adopt. You do not require a risk management plan in order to register but we strongly encourage you to begin developing your plan now. Our Environmental Health Officers are here to assist and support you while you develop your plan.
Access the DHHS template WQRMP here.
Resources for water quality management
For more information about environmental health please contact our office on 1300 002 642 or [email protected]
Looking for more business support?
Contact our Business Help Desk for a one on one meeting on 1300 002 642 or email [email protected]