Water Testing for Swimming Pools, Spas & Hot Tubs
Water Treatment Services is a leading water and environmental engineering specialist offering a range of laboratory based microbiological analysis and swimming pool water testing solutions (including tests for spas, hot tubs and hydrotherapy pools) to businesses, local authorities, healthcare organisations, schools, universities and private individuals throughout the UK and Ireland.
Our specialist laboratory procedures include tests for a range of common pathogens found in pool waters including E. coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Total coliforms, TVC/Aerobic colony counts, Legionella bacteria and other less common organisms that can contaminate pools.
If you’re one of the many UK businesses, councils, hospitals, schools, universities or private households who own or operate a pool, hot tub or spa, then you’ll already know that maintaining the quality of the water in your pool is something which can’t be ignored.
Specialist swimming pool water testing and analysis
Our specialist laboratory water testing and analysis solutions for swimming pools, spas and hot tubs include:
Full national UK coverage
With offices in London serving the South and South East England, Manchester (North West), Birmingham (Midlands), Bristol (South East England and Wales), Leeds (North and North East) and Glasgow (Scotland), supported by regional teams of trained engineers and technicians we can offer professional, cost effective pool water testing, in-field sampling and laboratory microbiological analysis services across the UK and Ireland.
Contact Water Treatment Services today to learn how our professional water quality analysis, testing and sampling solutions can help maintain pool water quality, safety standards and regulatory compliance processes. To speak with one of our experts call us on 0330 223 31 31 or simply use this button.
Why test swimming pool water?
Unlike other water systems found in homes and commercial premises where the water is flushed or drained away after each use, swimming pools, hot tubs and spas could be considered as a re-circulating water system where the water is retained and re-used many times over.
If you’re not testing the chemical and microbial water quality regularly, taking steps to maintain balance and keep it clean, issues such as pH and water clarity can change, and more worryingly bacteria can start to grow rapidly.
What bacteria can contaminate a pool, spa or hot tub?
Bacteria such as E. coli, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Legionella thrive in warm, poorly or untreated water and have the potential to make people using the pool or spa very ill.
Don’t assume that water which appears crystal clear is clean and safe to use – the types of bacteria which can grow in water are invisible to the naked eye.
UK laws dealing with water quality testing in pools, spas and hot tubs
UK health and safety laws dealing with swimming pool and spa water quality, testing and treatment really only come into play if you’re running a business such as a leisure centre, gym or hotel, or the pool is in a holiday property which is let to paying guests.
Owners and operators of pools and spas need to ensure sure that the water quality and treatment programmes are effective and meet current standards.
Although the law might not apply to domestic pools and spas, they provide excellent guidelines and standards which it makes sense to read, understand and comply with.
For more information both the Health and Safety Executive and the Pool Water Treatment Advisory Group (PWTAG) provide excellent guidance to help pool operators comply with health and safety law.
Microbial water testing for pools and hot tubs
It is very important that regular microbial analysis is carried out to ensure the effectiveness of the water treatment programme is maintained and the pool is safe to use.
Specialist microbial analysis is carried out in the laboratory, not in-field.
Swimming pool water testing
Swimming pools operated as part of a business should be tested on a monthly basis.
Microbial testing of privately operated pools is at the owner’s discretion, however we recommend the same testing frequency.
Our swimming pool microbial laboratory testing suite includes for the following:
Frequency – These tests should be carried out on a monthly basis.
Hot tubs and spa pool testing
Hot tubs and spa pools typically contain lower volumes of water and operate at higher temperatures than swimming pools.
These factors can increase the potential for bacterial growth in the water, including the risks from Legionella bacteria and other waterborne pathogens.
Our hot tub and spa pool microbial testing suite includes for the following:
Frequency – These tests should be carried out on a monthly basis, or when the spa is first used or recommissioned, after a report of ill-health, if there are problems of contamination, or if there have been alterations in the treatment/maintenance programmes.
If there are reports of ill-health from bathers further testing may also be required for other organisms including Staphylococcus aureus, Cryptosporidium, Giardia and possibly viruses.
Monitoring pool balance and pH
In addition to routine microbial analysis of pool waters regular chemical testing should also be carried out.
One of the most important chemical parameters you’ll need to keep under control in your swimming pool or spa is the pH of the water, often referred to as the “balance”.
This is a way of determining how acidic or alkaline the water is.
Adding pool chemicals to the water can often change the pH levels and may prevent other chemicals from working as well as intended.
pH is measured on a scale of 0 to 14. 0 is an extremely strong acid, 14 is strongly alkaline, and at the mid-point, 7, the water is neutral.
Experts agree that the ideal pH range for water in swimming pools or hot tubs is between 7.2 and 7.6.
This is a range which is comfortable for skin and eyes, allows chlorine added to the water to work properly, and within this range water scale problems are unlikely.
If the water pH starts to fall too low into the “acidic” range, you may find that the water becomes irritating to skin or eyes, pool equipment including heater elements start to corrode.
You may also start to notice a build-up of minerals around the edges of the pool itself.
On the other hand, if the water becomes too alkaline, you might notice skin irritation, but also water clarity reduces and scale starts to form on the sides of the spa or pool.
In the UK, mains water from the tap will have different pH levels depending on where you are in the country, how your water is treated and local geology – what type of rocks the water flows through on its way to your local reservoir.
It’s therefore impossible to set-out a standard water treatment regime which works for everyone, as the water in tubs will tend to be different from the start.
Monitoring chlorine levels in your swimming pool
Measuring levels of chlorine or your biocide of choice in pool water is also important.
Chlorine is currently the most popular biocide for the control of bacteria in pools but needs to be maintained at optimum levels – enough to kill any bacteria in the water, but not too much to cause health issues for bathers or accelerated corrosion of the equipment and other components used in the pool or spa.
Testing chemical parameters
There are various ways of testing the essential chemical parameters in your pool water including pH and chlorine (usually free or total chlorine).
Electronic meters are also available that will measure pH and chlorine levels. These are simple to use but more costly than test strips and tablet methods.
Please remember that there is no “best” way of testing the chemical parameters of your water; the key is to understand why you should be testing, how to do it correctly, and to do it regularly.
Expert swimming pool water testing and microbiological analysis
Contact Water Treatment Services today to find out more about our laboratory water analysis services including microbiological testing of swimming pool, spa, hot tub and hydrotherapy pool waters.
With offices in London serving the South and South East England, Manchester (North West), Birmingham (Midlands), Bristol (South East England and Wales), Leeds (North and North East) and Glasgow (Scotland), supported by regional teams of specially trained technicians and consultants we can offer professional, cost effective microbiological water analysis solutions to businesses, local authorities, hospitals, schools, universities and private individuals across the whole of the UK and Ireland.
Contact us today for more information or for your FREE, no obligation quote.
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More information about managing health and safety in swimming pools from the Health and Safety Executive (HSG179) … here →