By Shane Davies*
Commercial premises with hot tubs have a legal duty under health and safety law to maintain spa water consistently. Close monitoring and control are required to ensure water stays clean and safe for users to enjoy.
What are the risks of dirty spa water?
Hot tubs are one of the key attractions of visiting a hotel or health club. However, if they’re not maintained efficiently, they can pose significant health risks. Spa water can be quickly contaminated with sweat, skin, hair, urine and even feces. Harmful microbes such as Legionella bacteria can thrive, causing people to become very ill. The main reason for this is that hot tubs typically operate at between 30°C and 40°C – the ideal temperature for germs to flourish.
Hot tubs in commercial premises should be tested regularly for aerobic colony count, coliforms, E.coli and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Legionella tests should also be carried out either every quarter or as defined by a risk assessment. Microbiological analysis needs to be performed in a laboratory accredited for the analysis to ISO17025 standards. If the results aren’t acceptable, you’ll need to take follow up samples and then carry out remedial action.
Chemical tests should be performed at the same time as microbiological tests. The results will indicate the pH and total alkalinity levels. Getting the alkalinity right in hot tubs is vital for neutralizing acids. Alkalinity is an important part of balancing pH levels and is often referred to as “buffer” since