Published on 22nd July 2020

swimming pool

With restrictions on the tourist industry easing, small businesses with spas, hot tubs and pools are beginning to re-open supporting the town’s We’re Open recovery campaign.

The council is encouraging these businesses to test their water systems to ensure they are fulfilling their legal duty of care and protecting public health.

A recent PHE study into spa pools and hot tubs found that smaller businesses offering these facilities are hard to contact and may not have the necessary measures in place; these water systems provide the right conditions to support bacteria growth, which can cause significant infectious diseases, such as E.coli and Legionnaires’ Disease.

Sadie Hawson, senior environmental health officer from Cheltenham Borough Council, said: “We’re keen to support our local businesses safe return to the tourism industry and would remind any business offering these facilities to ensure that their water is tested as a priority and periodically thereafter.

“Most will have had their doors closed for a considerable amount of time during which the water may have become stagnant. We’re keen to work with them to ensure that these facilities are safe for their staff and customers and welcome them to contact us with any queries.

“The recent PHE study which we took part in, indicated that whilst public spaces are being well managed, holiday lets with spas and private pools are a concern.”

To find out further information on what to do please contact the council’s public protection team by email [email protected] or 01242 264135. Further information can be found on the council’s website by searching for ‘Legionella’:

For press enquiries, contact: communications team, telephone 01242 264154, email [email protected]

There is a legal duty of care for businesses to protect their employees and the public from all significant risks from their premises, under Health and Safety Legislation.

Public Health England (PHE) South West Spa Pools & Hot Tubs Study:

Between May and December 2019 Cheltenham Borough Council’s Environmental Health Team contributed to a PHE study which assessed the water quality of regional spa pools and hot tubs. In total, 112 water samples were taken from a random selection of 27 leisure and retail premises across five local authority districts in the South West.

The aim of the study was to microbiologically test water samples and measure them against benchmarked standards defined both by the HSE and the Pool Water Treatment Advisory Group (PWTAG). This allows PHE and local authorities to ascertain how effectively these premises are protecting public health from the associated infectious diseases.

The study found that 12 samples (10.7%) failed on particular key indicators and four samples (3.5%) were found to be grossly contaminated against the PWTAG standard. These premises ranged from: two privately rented lodges at a holiday park, a private swimming pool at a holiday cottage site and a golf club with a swimming pool and spa facility, as well as, three spa retailers.

In Cheltenham specifically, all samples that were taken came back satisfactory. The microbiological results, coupled with feedback from all participating officers, would indicate that generally spa pools are being well managed across the region.

Tourism is worth £159 million a year to Cheltenham. For further tourism related enquiries contact [email protected].