Proposed Changes to Pool Water Quality Legislation

The regulations associated with pool water quality and testing were released in 2009 by DHHS and have been under review for the previous 18 months. The (new) draft regulations are now available for comment, along with a Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS), which explains the key changes, the decision making considerations and the potential impact on Industry.

The documents are available on the Engage Victoria webpage https://engage.vic.gov.au/phwr-sunset-review. Consultation is encouraged and can be provided by either completing a survey or uploading a written submission on the webpage. Consultation closes 30 September 2019 and feedback will be used to inform and finalise the proposed regulations.

Contact phwa.enquiries@dhhs.vic.gov.au if you have any questions

Overview of the key changes:

  • Broadening the definition of an aquatic facility to include new and emerging aquatic facilities
  • Risk-based characterisation of aquatic facilities (category 1 and category 2)
  • Registration of category 1 aquatic facilities with council, commencing 14 December 2020
  • Powers for council to issue infringement penalties to facilitate compliance
  • Duty to manage the risks to human health arising from pathogenic microorganisms
  • Broadening the outbreak response provision for pathogenic microorganisms
  • Procedure for responding to non-compliance with microbiological parameters
  • Increased training requirements for responsible staff

Water Quality Guidelines for Public Aquatic Facilities

DHHS have also finalised the Water quality guidelines for public aquatic facilities. The purpose of these guidelines is to assist organisations and aquatic facilities to reduce risks to public health. These guidelines are available online (https://www2.health.vic.gov.au/public-health/water/aquatic-facilities/quality-guidelines) and aim to provide advice to local and state government environmental health officers to help fulfil their regulatory and advisory roles. The Victorian version of these guidelines replace Victoria’s Pool operators’ handbook 2008.

Summary of what’s new in the water quality guidelines:

  • All public aquatic facilities to have a water quality risk management plan
  • Minimum treatment requirements to include filtration combined with primary disinfection
  • Secondary treatment recommendation for all public aquatic facilities (particularly high-risk facilities) where there is a need for additional protection against Cryptosporidium
  • Automated operational monitoring recommendation for all public aquatic facilities
  • Chapter on healthy swimming and ways to encourage all pool users to adopt healthy swimming practices to maintain water quality and minimise contamination
  • Recommendations for operator training

For further information specific to these guidelines please contact water@dhhs.vic.gov.au.

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