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Pools, spas and other recreational water bodies

Managing the quality of ‘recreational’ water bodies falls into two areas:

  • Public aquatic facilities e.g. swimming pools and spas
  • Waterways and beaches

Pubilc aquatic facilities

Guidelines

There are no Queensland Government laws for water quality at public aquatic facilities (pools, spas, water parks etc) although, under the Public Health Act 2005, a public aquatic facility must not pose a public health risk. Under the Public Health Act 2005, your local council is responsible for the regulation of public aquatic facilities and so some councils have applied local laws to public aquatic facilities within their council area.

To help operators of public aquatic facilities, Queensland Health has published Water Quality Guidelines for Public Aquatic Facilities (PDF 2363 kB). These guidelines provide water quality criteria for public aquatic facilities and practical operational advice for facility operators. They also contain recommended response procedures for dealing with incidents such as faecal releases into a pool or remediating water that has been contaminated with Cryptosporidium. To assist operators and managers of public aquatic facilities who need to develop a site-specific risk management plan, Queensland Health has also developed a Site-Specific Risk Management Plan template (DOCX 4658 kB).

While these guidelines were written for public aquatic facilities, many of the ideas within the guidelines can be applied to most types of pools, other than ‘natural’ or ‘chemical-free’ pools. As germs can contaminate any kind of pool, whether public or privately-operated, good hygiene and proactive pool management should be used for all pools.

Further pool hygiene resources:

Waterways and beaches

There is no regulation of recreational water quality at natural water bodies in Queensland, such as lakes, rivers and ocean beaches. The best source of information on water quality at your local swimming spot is your local council. Additional information on water quality in South East Queensland can be found at the Healthy Land and Water. Queensland Health provides expert public health advice to Healthy Land and Water.

The National Health and Medical Research Council is responsible for the Australian Guidelines for Managing Risks in Recreational Water. These guidelines provide a best-practice, hands-on, practical approach to help those managing recreational water quality. These guidelines are currently under review.

Last updated: 10 December 2019