Ensuring Safe Operation of Public Swimming Pools and Spa Pools: A Comprehensive Guide (2023)


In the realm of public health and recreational facilities, compliance with the Public Health Act 2010 and Public Health Regulation 2022 is paramount. This guide aims to provide a comprehensive overview of the requirements for public swimming pools and spa pools, offering valuable insights for operators and stakeholders.

Defining Public Swimming Pools and Spa Pools

Understanding the classification is the first step. Any structure open to the public for bathing, swimming, or diving falls under this category. This includes pools in clubs, workplaces, hotels, schools, hospitals, and commercialized private residential premises. Spa pools, distinguished by their water capacity and water-jet facilities, are also covered.

Notification and Regulation

Operators must notify local councils of the existence of public swimming pools and spa pools as per the approved process outlined in the Public Health Regulation 2022. Compliance with disinfection standards using approved chemicals from the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) is mandatory.

Operating Requirements

The Public Health Regulation 2022, effective since September 1, 2022, emphasizes operating, monitoring, and recordkeeping standards. While the specified oxidation reduction potential requirement has been lifted for ORP systems, chlorine or bromine levels must meet the standards in Schedule 1. Daily monitoring, documented in a Daily Sample Log Sheet, is mandatory for 6 months.

Inspection and Protocols

NSW Health recommends using the Pool Inspection Report template for inspections. Protocols for incidents affecting water quality, including diarrheal and vomiting contamination, formed stool incidents, and failure to meet microbiological parameters, are provided. Special attention is given to Cryptosporidium outbreaks, with facilities required to disinfect all pools following relevant incident response protocols.

Risk Management Plans

To bolster public health protection, NSW Health suggests the adoption of swimming pool risk management plans. The template, in conjunction with the NSW Guide for Developing a Swimming Pool Risk Management Plan 2022, serves as a valuable resource, particularly for facilities using non-mains drinking water.


Operating public swimming pools and spa pools demands meticulous adherence to regulatory frameworks and industry best practices. By following the guidelines set forth in the Public Health Act 2010 and Public Health Regulation 2022, operators not only ensure compliance but also contribute to the overall safety and well-being of the public. This comprehensive guide serves as a crucial reference for navigating the intricacies of managing these aquatic facilities in accordance with the highest standards of public health and safety.


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