THERE IS RENEWED EMPHASIS on the need to exclude dogs, vermin – and even birds if possible from fountain features like Trafalgar Square

PWTAG has revised an existing technical note, and produced a new one, to recognise the increasing range and popularity – not to mention technical challenges – of water features. TN13 Interactive water features has been around for years. It included some material on fountains and ground-based jets.

That has been moved to form the basis for the new TN67 Decorative water features. (Guidelines for paddling pools are in the PWTAG book Swimming Pool Water). The technical guidelines in TN13 remain largely unchanged. But there is renewed emphasis on the need to exclude dogs, vermin – and even birds if possible.

The risk from Giardia and norovirus is included, alongside Cryptosporidium. And there is new material on the need for staff to watch out for excessive numbers during warm weather.

This new technical note deals with those features designed just for decoration, but with which nevertheless the public may choose to interact. Fountains and ground-based jets are the obvious examples. People can be discouraged from getting wet, but it’s not realistic to assume they won’t (think Trafalgar Square).

And so their water may be ingested. Even if that can be avoided, there are the issues of aerosols, droplets and dermal contact. Ideally, they should be dealt with like an interactive water feature: that’s two tanks, full water treatment. New installations should certainly have that. At the very least, any debris should be removed and circulating water disinfected.

If no plantroom is feasible, a fountain may be hand dosed. The water should be clear, which may necessitate filtration. If clear water cannot be delivered, the feature should be drained. There should be a formal risk assessment, which will include keeping animals out. HSE guidance and BS8580-2.2022 are helpful in risk assessment.

Fountains inside buildings are tricky to manage safely because of aerosols; so not in healthcare settings. There should be a written maintenance manual, incorporating material from manufacturers etc. Water should be cool as possible, certainly never more then 20oC and always clear with a systematic record maintained of water parameters, cleaning etc.

The UK’s authoritative guidance on swimming pools and spas “Dedicated solely to raising standards in swimming pool water treatment”

Pool Water Treatment Advisory Group