In response to a media report published today (August 3) alleging that the water quality of some public swimming pools is not up to standard, the Leisure and Cultural Services Department has the following reply:
The department makes its best endeavour to ensure the cleanliness and hygiene of the 37 public swimming pools under its management. A series of measures is carried out to monitor and maintain the hygiene level of the water quality of swimming pools. The swimming pools will be open to the public only when the pool water quality is up to the hygienic standard.
As in other public swimming pools, water samples were collected from Tai Kok Tsui Swimming Pool, Kowloon Park Swimming Pool, Shing Mun Valley Swimming Pool, Jordan Valley Swimming Pool and Victoria Park Swimming Pool to go through weekly laboratory tests and the test results of all these five pools in July met the hygiene standard.
In order to increase the degree of transparency about the water quality and hygiene level, notices are put up at the entrance of every public swimming pool showing the details of the respective water sample tests. The public may also browse the department's website at http://www.lcsd.gov.hk for the information.
On the cleansing arrangements, staff of the department conducts routine cleansing during and after the opening hours of the swimming pools. In addition, the swimming pools are closed half a day every week for a special cleansing operation. The arrangements have been proved effective since its operation from 2004.
Staff of the department closely monitors the operation of the disinfection and filtration systems to ensure their effectiveness to upkeep the cleanliness and hygiene of the swimming pools.
The department strictly and regularly monitors the bacterial content, free residual chlorine level and pH value of the pool water to ascertain that the pool water is clean and hygienic. In establishing the parameters in monitoring water quality, the department has made reference to the guidelines issued by the World Health Organization (WHO) and consulted the Department of Health.
Professional staff will take water samples for testing residual chlorine level and pH value on an hourly basis during the opening hours of the swimming pools. Tests on free residual chlorine level, pH value, total bacterial count, Escherichia coli and vibrio cholerae are conducted once a week by recognised laboratories under the Hong Kong Laboratory Accreditation Scheme. Water samples of swimming pools are sent to the Department of Health for testing once a month.
The collection and testing of water sample is a professional job and the relevant professional procedures must be followed. To ensure that the water samples are free from contamination so as to ensure the accuracy of the test results, the department has consulted the Department of Health and established guidelines on sampling, storing and transporting water samples for staff and laboratories to strictly follow.
The department will continue to make every effort to maintain the cleanliness and hygiene of its public swimming pools for the enjoyment of the public. The department appeals to the public for their cooperation in jointly upkeeping the cleanliness and hygiene of the swimming pools. They are advised to wear clean swimming suit, to clean the body, to walk through the shower bath and footbath before swimming, not to swim after a full meal and should use the toilet facilities if necessary.
Ends/Sunday, August 3, 2008