Legionnaires’ scare forces pool to close

By Ciara Quinn

THE swimming pool at Whiterock Leisure Centre has been closed down amidst concerns over the presence of high levels of the bacteria which cause the feared Legionnaires’ disease.

Belfast City Council said this week that the popular community amenity was closed until further notice after routine water sampling identified “water quality issues in the showering areas”.

 

Pneumonia

An update yesterday from the Council confirmed that “elevated levels” of legionella bacteria had been identified in the hot water system.

The bacteria can cause Legionnaires’ disease, a potentially deadly form of pneumonia transmitted by inhalation of contaminated water or soil. While not airborne, the bacteria can thrive in hot water tanks, cooling towers or large air conditioning systems.

Local Sinn Féin Councillor Steven Corr told the Andersonstown News that the pool could be closed to the public for anything between three days and a week.

“There is no danger to public health, this is being carried out as a precautionary measure as legionella was identified in the shower area, not the actual pool itself. The pool is closed until the issue is resolved. I understand that this means disruption to many of our local schools, and classes and I would advise them to use the Falls or Andersonstown Leisure facilities. In this instance it is better to be safe than sorry,” he said.

“It is important to stress that the pool and shower closures will have no impact on this weekend’s boxing competition between Ireland Youth and Germany and that it will go ahead as planned.”

 

System

A spokesperson for Belfast City Council said: “As part of the Council’s routine legionella control regime samples taken from the water system in the Whiterock Leisure Centre have indicated elevated levels of bacteria in the hot water system.

“Additional water treatment is to be undertaken which has resulted in the showers in the centre being taken out of use for the time being. This is a routine precaution and involves no risk to the public.”

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