Why did Aqua Vale stay open 11 days after diarrhoea health alert?

Aqua Vale
Aqua Vale

The Aqua Vale Swimming Pool remained open for 11 days even though environmental health chiefs raised concerns about a dangerous bacteria contamination.

Its two pools were later shut down, on April 3, after tests revealed that cryptosporidium bacteria, that causes diarrhoea, was present in the water.

The competition pool reopened on Saturday, and the leisure pool opens today (Wednesday) – but parents are demanding answers from Everyone Active, the firm that runs the facility.

One father, whose six-year-old daughter had to visit the hospital after swimming there, said: “My daughter has been really ill for more than a week now after going swimming and we’ve been back and forward to the doctors and even up to the hospital she has been so bad.

“None of her friends and family who don’t swim there are sick and to hear they knew about it is infuriating.

“I’m considering taking her out of her lessons there now.”

On March 24 Aylesbury Vale District Council informed Everyone Active of two cases of sickness from people who had been swimming.

At that time the company – after advice from Environmental Health – decided not to close the pool, but completed extra cleaning works and conducted water tests.

On April 3, when results revealed that bacteria was present in the pool, the firm took the decision to close.

Both pools are now testing negative for the bugs.

A spokesman for Everyone Active and Aylesbury Vale District Council said: “Water quality testing has to take place in a laboratory which means that the initial test results were not returned until April 3.

“The centre management closed the leisure pool on April 3 as soon as the tests results arrived and the competition pool as a precautionary measure.”


On 24 March Aylesbury Vale District Council’s Environmental Health Department alerted Everyone Active to a possible connection between a couple of cases of diarrhoea and the leisure pool at Aqua Vale Swimming and Fitness Centre.

Given that only a possible connection was indicated it was agreed not to close the pool at that time, however Environmental Health and Everyone Active agreed upon additional cleansing measures as a precaution.

These measures were designed to eradicate any possible bacteria from within the pools. 

Everyone Active has a stringent water testing policy in line with industry guidelines but as normal pool testing as conducted at the centre does not test for specific strains of bacteria, Everyone Active arranged for further analysis of the leisure pool water to take place the following day.  Water quality testing has to take place in a laboratory which meant that the initial test results were not returned to Everyone Active until 3 April. 

The test results indicated that levels of a bacterium known to cause diarrhoea was present in the leisure pool. 

This bacteria can only be introduced into a pool by a swimmer with a stomach infection.

Everyone Active had no reported cases of diarrhoea contamination in the pool during this time period and the regular pool testing regime did not indicate there were any issues with water quality. 

If either of these incidents had occurred the centre management would have implemented special cleansing measures, but they were given no indication there was any problem at all with the water quality. 

The centre management closed the leisure pool on 3 April as soon as the test resulted arrived, and the competition pool as a precautionary measure. 

The initial cleaning measures had already taken effect by this point as further test results received on 5 April showed the bacteria had been completely eradicated.  The competition pool reopened on Saturday 5 April and the leisure pool will open as early as possible once the results of the retest are known.

The leisure centre operates pool water management procedures that comply with industry standards, however, users of the pool are urged not to go swimming if they have had vomiting and diarrhoea for at least 48 hours after the last bout of symptoms, or 14 days for other types of stomach infections.