Bathing waters include beaches, lakes, rivers and artificial pools such as indoor and outdoor pools and spas. Bathing waters can be contaminated by microorganisms (bacteria, parasites, viruses) or other pollutants. This water contamination causes some health problems which may occur when:
To learn more about these health problems, read Health Problems Associated with Bathing Waters.
When bathing, you must take precautions:
Make sure you take the necessary precautions:
Bathers cannot rely on the clarity of water to assess quality in swimming pools and spas. The ministère du Développement durable, de l’Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques has therefore established guidelines to ensure water quality in public pools and spas. These guidelines appear in the Règlement sur la qualité de l’eau des piscines et autres bassins artificiels (Regulation Respecting Water Quality in Swimming Pools and other Artificial Pools, in French only).
Under this regulation, persons managing all public pools or spas should conduct daily verification of chlorine levels in the water. Also, they must collect water samples and have them analyzed to see if the water is contaminated by microorganisms. The frequency of water sampling and analysis depends on the type of pool:
The results of these tests must be displayed such that bathers can consult them.
If test results are not displayed or are unavailable, you have no way of knowing if the water in the pool is of good quality, which puts you at greater risk of catching various infections.
Also, some bacteria are resistant to water treatment. Legionella, for instance, cannot always be completely eliminated from water. It is therefore recommended that you avoid bathing in pools where test results are unavailable. This recommendation is particularly important for the following:
These people must especially avoid bathing in spas because water temperature is higher, which can promote the growth of Legionella or other bacteria.
Règlement sur la qualité de l'eau des piscines et autres bassins artificiels (Regulations on the quality of water in swimming pools and other artificial pools, available in French only)
Ministère du Développement durable, de l'Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques
Last update: February 14, 2017 4:00 PM
The information on this website by no means replaces the advice of a health professional. If you have questions regarding your health, contact Info-Santé 811 or see a health professional.