Keeping your swimming pool safe

Is your pool safe?

New Queensland Government pool laws came into effect on December 1, 2010. Owners of private pools need to be aware of the changes.

Visit the State Government website for more information about the changes.

As a pool owner you have a responsibility to ensure your pool does not contribute to these statistics. To help prevent injuries and death, council is committed to making sure current and prospective pool owners and tenants are aware of their obligations under Queensland leglisation.

Any outdoor swimming pool on residential land must have a development permit. It must also have a complying pool fence and CPR sign displayed. Failure to comply is an offence and is subject to prosecution and a fine.

If council receives a complaint about your pool and/or pool fence, council must conduct an inspection and if needed, order the owner to conduct immediate rectification of the fence and obtain a Pool Safety Certificate.

Inflatable pools

There are several issues with inflatable pools that the general public should be aware of.

Unfortunately each year several lives are lost around Australia due to drowning in pools.

Many people are not aware it takes only a small amount of water for a child to drown. Be aware if an inflatable pool can hold more than 300mm of water or has a filtration device, it will be subject to the pool fencing laws and will require a building application submission to a private certifier.

Does your pool require a fence?

Any excavation or structure capable of being filled with water to a depth of 300mm or more that is used for swimming, bathing, wading, paddling or some other human activity is defined under legislation as a regulated pool and requires a building application and pool fencing. This includes spas, inflatable and above ground pools.

Discharge of swimming pool water

Swimming pool water or backwash from swimming pool filtration systems must not be discharged to council’s sewer without the consent of council.

For further information about discharging domestic swimming pool water or filter backwash, contact council's Engineering and Commercial Infrastructure Department on 1300 MACKAY (622 529).

Are you breeding dengue mosquitoes?

Neglected or poorly maintained swimming pools and spa pools are an ideal environment for mosquitoes to breed. When the pool’s chemical parameters are not maintained at the minimum required levels and/or the filtration system is not functioning correctly, the pool becomes a public health risk.

It is your responsibility as a tenant or property owner, to maintain the pool so that it is not a breeding site for mosquitoes or is likely to become a breeding site for mosquitoes. Mosquitoes can carry several different mosquito borne diseases in particular dengue fever.

How to prevent mosquitoes breeding in your pool

The most important things that residents can do to prevent mosquitoes breeding in the pool is to maintain the pool’s water level, clean the pool regularly, maintain the minimum chemical criteria and operate the filtration system regularly as per the manufacturers recommendations. This will also minimise algal growth and any build-up of bacteria.

Guidance and information can be obtained from any competent pool maintenance technician and/or you may refer to the Queensland Health Swimming and Spa Pool Water Quality and Operational Guidelines (October 2004). Although this guideline is intended for publicly used pools, it will also provide useful information for private (domestic) swimming and spa pool users.

Legal obligations

Section 11 of the Public Health Act 2005 refers to a public health risk as any animal, structure, substance or other thing that is, or is likely to become, a breeding ground or source of food for designated pests. Designated pests include mosquitoes.

It is a requirement under the Public Health Regulation 2005 that a relevant person of a place must ensure that an accumulation of water or another liquid at the place is not a breeding ground for mosquitoes.

On the spot penalties can apply for relevant persons who do not comply with a public health order.

For further information and advice on pool safety visit the websites below:

Download a fact sheet on swimming pools and spas (including wading pools)