Water 'within safe range' at Settlement Cove Lagoon

Published 4:08pm 6 January 2023

Water 'within safe range' at Settlement Cove Lagoon
Words by Jodie Powell

A review of testing records at Redcliffe’s Settlement Cove Lagoon in the wake of community concern the water caused painful sores and burns has found water quality readings were within a safe range.

A social media post by ‘Jo Jo’ earlier today described agonising pain after visiting the lagoon around December 20.

“I had severe burns, some of them inside my mouth (which at first I assumed must have been ulcers from biting the sticky tape when I opened a gift!),” Jo Jo’s post said.

“But they soon became massive 1-2cm burns inside my cheek and lip, and that's only the start.

“I was in hospital twice, and my whole Christmas and NY period was just agony, tears, and discomfort, unable to eat or drink most of the time, unable to shower, swim, or even use the bathroom without shaking and crying in pain, and unable to sleep!”

Hundreds of comments

Water 'within safe range' at Settlement Cove Lagoon

One commenter says the water at Settlement Cove Lagoon turned her black shorts brown

The post attracted more than 200 comments in an hour, with other people reporting similar issues and saying the water had caused painful sores, bleached clothing and left swimmers with sore, red eyes.

One woman said her seven-year-old daughter suffered burns to her genitals and nipples after swimming in the water, while others reported seeing syringes in and around the lagoon.

Moderators have since turned off commenting on the post.

Moreton Daily contacted Moreton Bay Regional Council in the wake of the post, with a spokesperson saying no formal complaints had been received.

The spokesperson says up to 500-600 people use Settlement Cove each day during summer.

“No complaints were made to Council about chlorine at Settlement Cove over Christmas,” they said.

Comprehensive testing

The spokesperson says Council is “extremely proactive” about water testing at public pools, with a comprehensive water testing regime across all public swimming facilities, which exceeds industry standards and ensures the best possible water quality.

“Anyone with a skin or health condition that might be triggered by chlorine exposure is advised to seek specialist medical advice,” the spokesperson said.

However some people commenting on Jo Jo’s post said they had swum in other chlorinated pools without incident.

The spokesperson said Council immediately reviewed its water testing records after being advised of the post in the online forum, confirming water quality readings were within a safe range.

“To ensure public safety, water at Council pools is tested multiple times throughout the day by operational staff, as well as being monitored in real time by Building Management Software.

“Further, to ensure the integrity of these reports Council engages an external independent laboratory that undertakes more than 1300 water chemistry and microbiological tests each year across the regions aquatic facilities.”
The spokesperson said there were four different water quality monitoring processes in place at all Council pools.

How pools are monitored:

  1. Real Time: Via Building Management Software that displays and records real time data such as chemical readings and water flow.
  2. Daily Testing: Operations staff on site test the water minimum of five times a day, recording the result on site, as well as transcribing the data to a cloud-based record system.
  3. Fortnightly: External independent water chemistry laboratory testing each fortnight for chlorine, pH and other chemical levels .
  4. Monthly: External independent microbiological laboratory testing each month to check for Pseudomonas aeruginosa, cryptosporidium, Faecal Coliforms and E.coli.


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