Blackburn swimming pool shut after legionella bacteria found

A swimming pool was closed after the bacteria which causes Legionnaires’ disease was found in hot and cold water supplies, the council has said.

Daisyfield Pools in Blackburn was shut on 19 August as legionella bacteria was traced by an independent laboratory.

Legionnaires’ disease is a potentially serious lung infection, caught by breathing in tiny droplets of water which contain bacteria.

Swimming firm HALF Fish, which runs the pool, has been contacted for a comment.
‘Only responsible option’

Blackburn with Darwen Council owns the facility.

It said there were health and safety concerns raised in a detailed assessment from an independent swimming pool and water filtration company, which included:

  • Two discoveries of legionella bacteria in hot and cold water supplies
  • Flushing of the water system not being done properly
  • Pool testing equipment was in poor condition and unclean
  • The pump which puts chlorine into the main pool was leaking
  • Chemicals found at the pool had expired
  • Historical pool water test sheets showed readings out of acceptable range

HALF Fish took over the day-to-day running of the facility, which contains two pools, under an asset transfer arrangement in 2016.

Martin Eden, the council’s operations director, said “serious concerns” over HALF Fish’s management of the pools, and in particular the risk of re-occurrence of legionella meant the council had “to step in and make the decision to close the pools”.

“It would not have been right, or indeed safe, to allow the pools to remain open,” he said.

Independent inspectors found chlorine levels to be unacceptably low in both pools, he added.

“On the two occasions when legionella bacteria was detected at Daisyfield Pools, council staff stepped in to arrange urgent treatment and follow-up inspections on behalf of HALF Fish,” he said.

The closure of the pools led to a petition by local residents calling on the council to address condition of the building and fund repairs, the Local Democracy Reporting Service said.

The council’s health and wellbeing boss, Councillor Damian Talbot, said: “We know that closing Daisyfield Pools was not a popular decision, however when in possession of all the facts closure was the only responsible option available to the council.”

Senior councillors will be presented with the findings of the review and recommendations for next steps at a meeting of Blackburn with Darwen Council’s executive board meeting on 7 September.

  • Original Article: BBC News
  • Date: August 2023