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LCSD's Response to the Opinion of a Concern Group on Water Quality of Public Swimming Pools

The following is a statement issued by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD) in response to the opinion of a concern group on the water quality of public swimming pools:

The Department endeavours to provide a clean and hygienic swimming pool environment for the enjoyment of the public. In establishing the parameters in monitoring water quality of public swimming pools, the Department has made reference to the “Guidelines for Safe Recreational-Water Environments: Swimming pools, spas and similar recreational-water environments”issued by the World Health Organization (WHO) and in consultation with the Department of Health.

Acting on the guidelines, the Department strictly and regularly monitors the turbidity, bacterial content, free residual chlorine level and pH value of the pool water.

The Department tests the combined chlorine level of the pool water annually. Past results showed that the content has been less than 0.1 parts per million (ppm). According to the “Guidelines for Safe Recreational-Water Environments: Swimming pools, spas and similar recreational-water environments”issued by the WHO, Trihalomethane (THM) or Chloroform is not one of the parameters to be monitored. The content of this chemical found in pool water is extremely low. It will also be disintegrated in the disinfection process.

The Department has been monitoring the Oxidation and Reduction Potential (ORP) of the pool sterilization system and maintaining the level between 750 to 800 millivolts to ensure the efficiency of the system. In accordance with the Swimming Pools Regulation, the turbidity of pool water is kept at 5NTU or below and the standard is monitored weekly. The free residual chlorine level adopted for the public swimming pools meets the standards recommended by the“Guidelines for Safe Recreational-Water Environments: Swimming pools, spas and similar recreational-water environments”issued by WHO and it is monitored on hourly basis.

To enhance the management of public swimming pools, the Department has set up an interdepartmental body - the Steering Committee on the Management of Public Swimming Pools in November last year. Representatives from Department of Health, Electrical and Mechanical Services Department, Architectural Services Department, Food and Environmental Hygiene Department and Agricultural, Fisheries and Conservation Department serve as members of the committee. Two experts: Professor Yuen Kwok-yung, Head of the Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Medicine of the University of Hong Kong, and Mr Victor Cheung Chi-kong, Council Member of the Hong Kong Institute of Engineers, serve as advisers. The committee aims to monitor the pool water quality, environmental hygiene and cleanliness, as well as the usage of the facilities.

In accordance to the recommendations made by the Steering Committee, the Department has implemented a series of proactive measures to upgrade the hygiene and cleanliness of public swimming pools, as well as to step up the monitoring of pool water quality.

These measures include strictly conducting daily cleansing operations and carrying out thorough cleansing weekly, increasing the frequency of tests on bacterial content and turbidity on a weekly basis.

A set of rules and regulations has also been introduced for using public swimming pools. Staff are reminded to conduct thorough patrolling at the pools and the surrounding areas. Special attention is paid to potential mosquitoes breeding grounds.

Besides, publicity and education efforts have been stepped up to urge the public to observe the rules for keeping swimming pools clean. Before entering the pool deck, swimmers are reminded to take a shower to clean their bodies thoroughly in the changing rooms, and walk through the shower bath and footbath. They are advised not to swim after a full meal and should use the toilet facilities if necessary before swimming.

In order to increase the degree of transparency and allow people to know more about the water quality and hygiene level, notices have been put up at the entrance of every public swimming pool showing details of the respective water sample tests. The public may also browse the Department's website at for the information.

An opinion survey conducted from June to August this year at 36 swimming pools managed by the Department revealed that over 70 percent of some 7,400 randomly selected respondents were satisfied with the pool water quality and the overall cleanliness of the pools. They also agreed that measures implemented by the Department are effective in upgrading the standard of hygiene and cleanliness. More than 60 percent of the respondents believed that the hygiene conditions of the pools had improved when compared with that of last swimming season.

Ends/Thursday, October 20, 2005
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