Swimming Pool

Swimmer complains of ‘dangerous’ heating of Tadley pool water

Mark Payne, who has been using the Tadley Health and Fitness Center for nearly 14 years, claimed that the pool’s water temperature is consistently kept above 30 degrees, which is not recommended by the Pool Water Treatment Advisory Group (PWTAG).

Mr Payne, 35, has been measuring the water temperature at the Tadley pool for three years since noticing the “dangerous” trend.

He said the temperature is often kept at 32 and 33 degrees, sometimes at 34 degrees.

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According to PWTAG, the recommended temperature for competitive and fitness swimming is 26 to 28 degrees, recreational water activity is 28 to 30 degrees, children’s classes are 29 to 31 degrees, and swimming for babies, toddlers, the disabled and the infirm is 30 to 32 degrees.

“I know when they have swimming lessons they run the water a little hotter. Most pools with such sessions would run it at 29 degrees, not 30. But that’s still acceptable,” he said.

“But there was a summer three years ago when it was very hot and the pool was really hot. When I told the lifeguards they said it wasn’t. So I went out and bought a thermometer and measured it. It was 32 degrees. Since then, I’ve recorded temperatures every time I’ve swum. Because I wanted to make sure if I’m crazy or if it’s actually too indifferent.”

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Mr Payne also sent a 10-month chart of pool water temperatures where readings regularly touched 34 degrees, which he says the center didn’t dispute.

But the swimmer said no action had been taken yet.

Mr Payne said the higher temperature posed an increased risk of death by the pool.

“There are recorded cases of Olympic athletes, who are among the fittest people, dying in waters above 30 degrees. It puts additional strain on the cardiovascular system, reduces oxidative uptake and increases the likelihood of heart attacks, strokes, fainting and drowning.

“I have no doubt that at some point there will be a serious incident in this pool because someone will overexert themselves in the hot water.

“There are obvious health and safety issues here, and the cost of energy to heat that much water by just one degree is huge. It’s clear that some of these recent changes causing an uproar and petitions etc are due to an attempt to cut costs. So why do they keep wasting so much energy?”

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A pool spokesman confirmed that the pool temperature is kept above 30 degrees.

Guy Baber, Contracts Manager for Basingstoke and Deane Community Leisure Trust, said: “The set temperature for the swimming pool at Tadley Health & Fitness Center is 30 degrees Celsius. This was selected after a period of testing where we were operated at 29 degrees. Due to a number of complaints from customers telling us the water was too cold, we have changed this setting.

“However, we are aware of an issue with temperature control at the centre. This is because the automatic setting that regulates the temperature is not working properly, resulting in the panel having to use manual mode. This causes transient fluctuations in the water temperature that have occasionally caused it to rise above the set point. We are currently working to find a permanent solution with our commissioned contractors.”

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