Summer is right at the corner, and it’s indeed time for considering bathing water analysis as a critical issue.
Drought is affecting many areas and heat can be the pollution source that requires highest attention.
Each year in France for instance, more than 30,000 bathing water samples are analyzed from more than 3,000 sites upon Regional Health Agencies (ARS) request.

Which risks for the bather ?

The water may contain fecal or environmental pathogens.
These ones can induce gastroenteritis, or eye / ENT problems.

 

Normative environment: the base for high quality standards set up

All bathing waters (freshwater or saltwater) must comply with the European Directive 2006/7/EC of 15 February 2006 defining bathing water quality management.
This directive includes the following :
– samples collection
– parameters to be checked

Based on their performance on those two criterias, bathing sites are ranked.
These samples are collected before summer time starts (pre-summer sampling), as well as during summer time with a maximum period of one month.

 

Bath water analysis: how to carry out your samples?

The collection protocol is the same for swimming and artificial pools, as well as for natural pools (lake, river, page).You must sample with a vial, that may be sterile or not, and may include a preservative or not. This vial has to be identified for traceability as follows:
– Date
– Location
– Name of the sampler
The samples has to be sent to the laboratory with a cooling block to avoid microbiological development.

 

How to guarantee a safe bathing water?

To guarantee bathing water quality, tests are carried out on microbiology and chemistry.

They include the following parameters:

– In microbiology :

o Fecal coliforms
o Pseudomonas aeruginosa
o Staphylococcus aureus
o Legionella
– In physico-chemistry :
o Turbidity
o Conductivity (TDS)
o pH
o Alkalinity

To carry out these researches, the collection method must be done in waterproof and resistant vials with a traceability label from the collection point to the analysis.

Samples transportation is free of ADR (Agreement for Dangerous goods by Road) regulation. One has indeed reasons to believe that they cause no risk for human health in this process.
For more information about this regulation, please check out the belated post on #laviedulabo.

Laboratories are everywhere … human health requires biological samples analysis but also environment monitoring.
For more information about bathing water quality, French government recommends to visit: http://baignades.sante.gouv.fr

We all wish the best to lab techs who will take care to make our holidays one of the best time of the year !