Service NL says it qualifies as a Class A pool
The pool in Plate Cove East has been struggling with regulations for over a year now.
Their flow in-flow out pool takes in water from a natural stream and spills it out into the ocean.
Service NL has informed the Plate Cove recreational committee that they must meet the minimum requirements expected of any public pool. This includes water filtration and disinfectant systems.
In a written statement submitted to The Packet last Friday, Service NL communications specialist Rod Drover says these systems are vital for the health of its users.
"(The filtration and disinfectant systems) ensure that the water is clear enough to see the bottom of the pool at all times and to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria such as E. coli and Giardia.
"Without a disinfection system, pool users could become sick from contaminated water. Given that the water being piped into the pool is very dark at times, a filtration system is needed to ensure the water is clear enough to see someone like a small child who might be in trouble at the bottom of the pool," he said.
Michelle Keough and other representatives of the recreation committee argue that since their pool is free-flowing, it would not warrant such a system and should be exempt from the classification of a pool.
Section three of the Public Pools Regulations states: "These regulations do not apply to natural bodies of water, contained, dammed or otherwise, which are used as swimming and bathing areas."
However, Drover states the Plate Cove pool is a "Class A" pool because, in the department's interpretation, it is not a natural water location.
"The pool is not a "natural body of water" in that water is piped in from a separate source rather than it being a basin which has been constructed within a river or a pond," he said.
The filtration system isn't the only issue that still needs to be addressed, he said.
"There are a number of other health and safety features to ensure that pool users and the public are protected including a requirement for lifeguards, adequate fencing or barriers for when the pool is not open or supervised, non-slip surfaces around the pool, and so forth."
Drover says Service NL will continue working with the people in Plate Cove East to ensure an understanding is met while still providing a safe outlet for recreation for the community.
In fact, Drover says, they are investigating other methods of disinfecting water - other than the use of chlorine - that may suit this unique pool.
Even though Service NL notified the community of the requirements, people are still swimming in the pool on a daily basis.
When asked if Service NL has plans to officially prohibit the use of the pool under current standards, Drover said their principal concern is safety and will make their health requirements known shortly.
"Inspectors do have the authority to issue an order to close a pool if they feel that there is an immediate and serious risk to the safety of the people using the pool."