23 December 2019
Executive Council and the Governor on Friday re-examined the reasons for the closure of the Jamestown Swimming Pool. Members recognised it had been seven weeks since the pool was closed by Public Health and there was concern from the general public. They were very concerned at the delay in reopening this important facility for public use, especially during the present warm period. Members were informed that in spite of various interventions by the operator and Health officials it has not yet been possible to re-store the quality of the water in the pool to the required standards of clarity, chlorine content and pH level.
Medical specialists from the Health Directorate advised they have a genuine concern some members of the public may be susceptible to communicable illnesses if the general public used the pool in its present condition. ExCo Members present at the meeting questioned the findings and options in detail and concluded they had little choice but to accept the recommendations of the Health Directorate’s personnel. The Jamestown Swimming Pool will remain closed until a specialist engineer can get to the Island.
An exception is being made for diver training where divers would be in wet suits and use breathing apparatus, so should have far less direct physical contact with the water. The Health Directorate is satisfied this purpose would not constitute an unacceptable risk to individual health.
A Commissioning Engineer to service the pool and plant room, as well as to provide additional plant room training, to the Pool Operator and SHG Staff will arrive in early-January. Additional swimming pool chemicals have also been ordered and are awaiting air freight delivery via the Airlink flight.
SHG will issue further information when available.
The Pool has been closed to the public since Friday, 1 November 2019.
This decision was made after a routine health inspection of the Swimming Pool was held by the Environmental Health team on 28 October 2019. The inspection found that the chlorine level was below the recommended value, the pH level was higher than the recommended value, and one bacterial colony grew on the water sample without being able to provide further identification of the bacteria. The pool water was also found to be cloudy.
Subsequent daily checks of the pool were carried out and results failed to comply with operational standards. This was further aggravated when it was found that the pool chlorinator was broken and therefore corrective measures could not be undertaken. Works to repair the chlorinator took place soon after.
Following the pool closure, samples of particles from the pool water, the pool wall, and from the heritage wall were taken to test. The result of these tests showed a similarity between the water particles and the particles taken from both the pool and heritage walls.
Ways of addressing the cloudiness that constitutes a health risk were discussed as well as solutions to maintaining pH level and water balance (including other parameters such as calcium levels) were identified during a joint site visit and meeting that included representatives from the Health Directorate, Corporate Procurement, the Property Department of the Infrastructure & Transport Directorate, the Pool Operator and Corporate Support.
Since then, the Environmental Health team has been carrying out regular inspections of the pool. These tests found that water continues to appear cloudy, with water parameters still not meeting operational standards. The three main issues are:
- Varying pH levels between 7.8-8.2
- Low calcium levels
- Cloudy water that affects visibility
In its current state, the pool’s decreased water visibility poses a risk of injury and is a drowning hazard – a struggling swimmer could go unnoticed by other swimmers in and outside of the pool. These issues are further hindered by lime mortar falling off the heritage wall and some particles entering the pool water.
The high pH level also causes irritation to the eyes and skin but most importantly affects the disinfecting effect of chlorine, increasing the risk of infectious diseases.
23 December 2019