Recreational water quality

Recreational water includes:

  • Pools
  • Hot tubs
  • Bathing beaches at lakes, rivers and the ocean

Children and adults use recreational water for sport, health and relaxation, so it's important to keep it safe, clean and healthy.

Decision Protocols for cyanobacterial toxins in B.C. drinking water and recreational water

The purpose of the 2018 Decision Protocols for Cyanobacterial Toxins in B.C. Drinking Water and Recreational Water (PDF, 677KB) is to provide standardized processes (steps) for water suppliers, local governments and health authorities to follow when monitoring cyanobacterial bloom events.

Both protocols for drinking water and recreational water recommend actions that should be taken to address potential cyanobacterial blooms and associated microcystin issues.

Pools and hot tubs

B.C.’s health authorities approve and regularly inspect public/commercial pools and hot tubs to ensure these facilities are safely constructed and operated according to the Pool Regulation under the Public Health Act.

B.C. guidelines for pool design and operations

The following guidelines are intended to help pool designers, operators and regulators interpret the Pool Regulation and represent generally accepted minimum standards of safe practices:

These guidelines are presently in the interim version 3.0 and will be finalized in 2022.

Pool Safety Plan Guide

Pool Safety Plan Guide pool operators must create a comprehensive written pool safety plan for their facility, detailing the actions to be taken to ensure the health and safety of pool patrons.

The following 2 documents, the pool guide with a fillable safety plan and the basic fillable pool safety plan, have been developed to help operators create a custom pool safety plan for their facility.

Bathing beaches

Health authorities may sample the water quality of recreational beaches or create reports on recreational water quality concerns to help inform them of any public health risks.

At their discretion, they may decide to close beaches, issue public advisories or post warning signs based on these sampling results until the water samples indicate that it's safe to resume swimming in these waters.

Beach condition reports

The regional health authorities post current beach conditions on their websites: