Council advises that a spate of recent faecal and vomit incidents at JM Robson Aquatic Centre have resulted in the closure of the Centre on each occasion.
A number of strict measures have been put in place to avoid possible disease transmission after the incidents that close the pool.
The measures, as enforced by a NSW Government health standard, are:
- Evacuate and close pool (10 minutes)
- Remove contaminant and clean pool with manual vacuum (30 minutes)
- 'Super' chlorination of the water to treat it (13 hours)
- Water retested (10 minutes)
The particular disease of concern is called cryptosporidium, which is a diarrhoeal disease infecting the intestine.
Cryptosporidium or ‘Crypto’ is present in the faeces matter of already infected humans. It is spread when the parasite is ingested.
In order to protect the community, don't swim if...
- you have had diarrhoea or vomiting in the past two weeks,
- you have cryptosporidiosis or germs like E.coli, shigella and viruses, which are transmitted through the faecal-oral route. They are highly contagious and spread by people accidentally swallowing pool water that has been contaminated. This causes people to be sick with symptoms such as diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramps and fever.
'Crypto' can survive in a swimming pool for weeks thereby infecting swimmers and causing large disease outbreaks. It is therefore vital that swimmers don't introduce the bug into our pools in the first place.
These incidences are a disappointment and inconvenient for families.
"These closures inconvenience our patrons and cost the community, particularly when we have swim lessons organized. It's a real disappointment and hassle for local families." Mayor of Lithgow, Councillor Stephen Lesslie said.
JM Robson Aquatic Centre enforces a ‘no nappy – no swim’ for under 3’s – no exceptions. This also applies to any children over the age of 3 years who are not completely toilet trained. Council reserves the right to ask any person that is not complying with this policy to exit the pool. This policy is in place to ensure the highest possible water quality for our patrons.
Firmly fitting water tight swim pants (Happy Nappy) MUST be worn to prevent accidental contamination of the pool. This is in ADDITION to any disposable aqua nappy that is worn underneath. However swimming nappies should not replace regular bathroom breaks. Check the nappy regularly and change when required.
"We provide disposable aqua nappies for $2 on the pool deck for the convenience of families. We really need our patrons to respect this rule in the interests of the whole community" added Councillor Lesslie.
Parents can also do the following things to avoid pool contamination:
- Take their child on bathroom breaks often rather than waiting to hear they 'have to go' as it may be too late
- Change nappies in a bathroom and not at the poolside as germs can spread to surfaces or objects in and around the pool and spread illness
- Wash their child thoroughly (especially on the bottom) with soap and water before going swimming
- Wash their hands with soap and water after changing a child's nappy
Parents and carers have a key role to play in ensuring pools remain safe for everyone by ensuring that non-toilet trained children do not have toileting accidents in the pool.
Providing quality recreational facilities for a healthy, vibrant and harmonious community is part of Council’s Community & Built Environment Strategies in the Community Strategic Plan.