Water quality for pools and other artificial basins in condominiums: Are you fully aware of the regulations?

In Quebec, water quality in swimming pools and other artificial basins is regulated by the Regulation respecting water quality in swimming pools and other artificial basins (hereinafter referred to as the Regulation).

 

Regulatory requirements

Coming into force on January 1st, 2007, the Regulation establishes a framework for monitoring water quality through rigorous standards, regular testing and record-keeping. Failure to comply with these regulations can result in penalties, including fines imposed by municipalities.

The Ministry of the Environment provides a number of resources on its website to help you better understand the Regulation:

 

Requirements for condominium pools and bassins

Testing requirements vary according to building size:

 

Water quality standards

Under this Regulation, the microbiological and physico-chemical quality of water in pools must comply with certain standards. For example, microbiological parameters such as fecal coliforms, Escherichia coli and Pseudomonas aeruginosa must be below 1 CFU/100 ml.

 

Deadlines for microbiological sampling

The Regulation also stipulates that water samples for microbiological testing must be taken at specific intervals:

It is important to note that there must be a minimum interval of 10 days between samples. Samples must be taken during the basin’s opening hours.

Physico-chemical tests

For physico-chemical tests, the frequency of testing depends on the pond installation. If the pool is equipped with a continuous reading system that records the data collected, physico-chemical tests must be carried out three times a day: at opening, in the middle of the day and at closing.

In the absence of such a system, physico-chemical tests must be carried out every three hours throughout the period from the opening of the pool. Parameters such as water temperature, alkalinity, residual bromine, chloramines, free chlorine residual, total chlorine residual, hardness and pH must be analyzed on site within 30 minutes to 2 hours of sampling.

 

Operator responsibilities

According to the by-law, « the person responsible »  for a pool means any owner or operator of a pool or other artificial pool covered by this by-law.

According to Sylvain Dufresne, lawyer and director of legal affairs at SolutionCondo, the syndicat de copropriété is the « the person responsible »  and is therefore required to ensure compliance with the standards set out in the By-law, and in particular to maintain a register of inspections carried out.

 

Administrative, financial and penal sanctions in the event of non-compliance

Failure to comply with water quality regulations for swimming pools and other artificial basins may result in administrative, financial and penal sanctions.

Depending on the nature of the default, the syndicate may be required to pay an administrative penalty ranging from $1,000 to $7,500.

On the other hand, depending on the nature of the offences, sections 23 to 28.1 of the By-law also provide for fines as penal sanctions.

For example, failure to post the register at the frequency or under the conditions prescribed by section 22 may result in a fine of $1,000 to $100,000 for an individual and $3,000 to $600,000 in other cases.

What’s more, in the case of events such as fecal, vomitus or other accidents, failures in water treatment equipment, or failure to comply with regulatory provisions, the penal sanctions are even greater.

Indeed, according to article 28:

An offence is punishable, in the case of a natural person, by a fine of $8,000 to $500,000 or, despite article 231 of the Code of Penal Procedure (chapter C-25.1), by a maximum term of imprisonment of 18 months, or both, or, in other cases, by a fine of $24,000 to $3,000,000, whoever contravenes article 8 or 17 or the second paragraph of article 18.

 

Our commitment at SolutionCondo

At SolutionCondo, we understand the importance of maintaining water quality in artificial basins, and we implement innovative solutions and techniques to facilitate this process.

Our team of technical experts can assist you in making the appropriate recommendations to ensure compliance with established standards. Whether through consultation, training or the installation of reading systems, we can support you.

With the summer season just around the corner, we invite you to contact us to see how we can help you implement the appropriate measures to comply with the Regulation respecting water quality in swimming pools and other artificial basins.

 

Article written by
Sébastien St-Pierre

Director Technical Department
and
Sylvain Dufresne, Lawyer
Director Legal Affairs

 

 Additional resources:


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Death in Co-ownership : A Taboo Subject ?

Life as a condo manager can be full of unforeseen events. In addition to having to manage many technical, financial, and administrative aspects on a daily basis, we also have to deal with delicate situations that inevitably require our involvement.

Whether inside or outside the building, a death can occur, whether accidental, natural, or even criminal. Although deaths most often occur within the walls of the private portion, they will inevitably have an impact on the management of the building.

 

When such an event occurs at home, the family of the deceased must organize the removal of the body, which means ensuring that the unit is accessible.

Since the announcement of a death is left to the discretion of the estate liquidators, condominium staff must exercise discretion regarding the death and make themselves available to assist the funeral services if necessary to facilitate the transport of the body.

In some cases, the liquidator may not appear at the time of death, or may fail to contact the manager, or the staff may not be notified. In such cases, it is up to the estate to draw up an inventory of the personal property in the private area.

If the death was discovered late and aggravating factors are present (e.g. foul odours coming from the condo where the death occurred), the manager may be called upon to force the execution of provisions included in most declarations of co-ownership. This may include cleaning the condo to prevent the spread of pathogens or microbes that could enter the building’s ventilation ducts, for example. Generally speaking, article 1066 of the Civil Code of Quebec specifies the terms and conditions of access, including access for necessary inspections. These measures are designed to meet the Board’s obligations in terms of building conservation and occupant safety. However, it is important to note that management must have a prior reason for carrying out such inspections, and that they cannot be carried out under any other pretext.

 

Many declarations of co-ownership also specify the terms of access in the building by-laws.

In all cases, to keep a written record of the steps taken prior to an inspection in the event of a presumed death (telephone calls to all the resident’s emergency contacts and written notification), it is crucial to document each action.

What happens if a resident’s immediate family member contacts management, concerned that their loved one has not responded for several days?

I’ve personally experienced this. Alerted by the mother of a resident who hadn’t heard from her in several days, the building’s security guards went on site to check on her. As the guards had not seen the resident for over a week, and it was not her habit to stay in her condo, they went directly to the site. When there was no response, they opened the unit and found that the resident had probably died a week earlier.

Since some of the property was contaminated with fluids, decontamination was necessary and had to be coordinated with the estate.

 

In the case of a death of an accidental nature, it is sometimes necessary for the manager to participate in investigations with the police if the cause is suspicious.

For example, although isolated, there have been cases of death falling from balconies in large high-rise developments. Death by drowning in a condominium swimming pool could also lead to a lawsuit against the syndicate by the estate. In a recent case, the estate of a deceased resident sued the syndicate for damages, attributing his death to the syndicate’s negligence.

In such cases, the syndicate must be proactive and take corrective action if the common areas available to residents are unsafe and could cause further incidents through its negligence.

 

Impact on payment of condo fees

You should know that, despite the death of a loved one, all condo fees remain payable to the syndicate until the transfer of ownership to the liquidator or heirs, as the case may be. In order to proceed with this transfer, the syndicate must receive a declaration of transmission detailing the successors and assigns, who will then receive a notice of assessment.

In all cases, unless prior agreement has been obtained from the Board of Directors, the interest charges and penalties provided for in the declaration of do-ownership for non-payment of common expenses will apply.

It’s best to plan ahead and make the payment personally instead of through the estate, if delays are required to open the estate account.

 

Impact on the sale of the condo

Whether you are the co-owner of a condo in which your tenant has died, or the liquidator of the estate of a condo for sale, a death will have an impact at the time of sale. Whether it’s a death inside a private portion or in the common areas/outside grounds, or even in another fraction for smaller syndicates, it’s essential to declare any type of death on the seller’s declaration form. It will be at the discretion of any potential buyer to judge whether or not the declaration will negatively affect his or her buying process, It will be at the discretion of any potential buyer to judge whether or not the declaration will adversely affect his or her buying process, even in the case of a natural death. Your real estate broker will be able to guide you in filling out the necessary forms.

Renaud Bourrassa

Director of Management


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Bureau 6115, Montréal
(Québec)  H3K 1G6

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