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Sham Shui Po Park Swimming Pool hygiene standards

The following is a statement issued by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD), in response to press enquiries today (May 30) about the results of the water sample tests of Sham Shui Po Park Swimming Pool:

"From May 12 to 17, the LCSD's contractor and the Department of Health separately conducted two series of tests comprising 65 water samples collected from Sham Shui Po Park Swimming Pool.

A total of nine water samples had their bacterial counts exceeding prescribed standards but no E. coli or cholera bacteria were found.

After a joint inspection of Sham Shui Po Park Swimming Pool by the LCSD and the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department (EMSD), it was confirmed that the filtration and sterilisation system is working normally.

In accordance with the established guidelines, the swimming pool staff immediately superchlorinated the water so as to ensure that the water was hygienic.

All the water samples collected from the swimming pool from May 16 onwards indicated that the water quality can meet the hygiene standards.

Subsequent inspections conducted by the LCSD and the Department of Health could not rule out the possibility of individual samples being contaminated during the sampling procedures.

In fact, all LCSD's swimming pools have their filtration and sterilisation system operating normally.

Also, since May 14, it has been a practice for the LCSD to superchlorinate the water after the closure of the swimming pools every day to safeguard the hygiene of the water.

At present, the water quality of Sham Shiu Po Park Swimming Pool is up to the hygiene standard and the pool is open to the public as usual.

Comprehensive tests which took several days for one of the 65 water samples taken by the contractor showed the presence of cholera bacteria. Another sample collected separately on the same day was sent to the Department of Health but no cholera bacteria have been found.

The Department of Health confirmed that cholera bacteria found by the contractor were not of the epidemic strains of O1 or O139 which cause cholera and thus would not pose a risk to public health.

Further water samples were collected and tested afterwards, but no cholera bacteria were found.

The results of the water sample tests, subsequent superchlorination and inspection were tabled at a meeting of the Steering Committee on the Management of Public Swimming Pools last Friday (May 27) for discussion and endorsement.

The Steering Committee agreed that upon finding the total bacteria counts exceeding the prescribed limit, superchlorination is an effective way to disinfect the water of the pools.

Two experts, namely the Head of the Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Medicine at the University of Hong Kong, Professor Yuen Kwok-ying, and the Council Member of the Hong Kong Institute of Engineers, Mr Victor Cheung Chi-kong, are the advisers to the Steering Committee.

The other membership comprises representatives from the Department of Health, EMSD, Architectural Services Department, Food and Environmental Hygiene Department, and Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department.

The LCSD has issued guidelines and procedures to closely monitor the water quality of the swimming pools. Meanwhile, the EMSD will carry out monthly checks of the filtration and sterilisation system.

In addition to superchlorination in accordance with the guidelines, in future the LCSD will immediately make public announcements upon receipt of reports of the total bacterial counts exceeding the prescribed limit."

Ends/Monday, May 30, 2005
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