Information on the closure of Gratwick Aquatic Centre

The Gratwick Aquatic Centre has been closed until further notice, following the detection of Naegleri fowleri in the dive pool.

Water tests have indicated a positive reading to the amoeba, requiring the closure of the entire facility.

Community members who have recently visited the facility are advised to contact their general practitioner if they are feeling unwell.

The Town of Port Hedland apologises to the community for the closure of the facility, however safety is the Town’s first priority.

South Hedland Aquatic Centre remains open to the public. Opening hours can be found at https://www.porthedlandleisure.wa.gov.au/south-hedland-aquatic-centre.aspx

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Why did the Town of Port Hedland open the swimming pool before receiving water testing results?

A. The Town conducted water testing in the lead up to the opening of the facility and these results showed all three pools were clear. Subsequent testing has shown the presence of the amoeba in the dive pool.

Q. What is the process to ensure the presence of the amoeba is entirely removed from the aquatic centre?

A. The dive pool, lap pool and children’s pool has been super chlorinated to remove the amoeba. The walls of the dive pool have also been scrubbed and potential points of non-pool water ingress (i.e. Reticulation) into the pool have been identified and rectified. Further tests have been undertaken to determine pool status following chlorination. 

Q. Why can’t you just close the dive pool?

A. While the amoeba has not been detected in the main pool, the toddler’s pool or sand filters, all three pools share a filtration system.

Q. What exactly has been detected?

A. The amoeba strain is called , which is an amoeba commonly found in freshwater and soil. It can also be detected in bodies of water, such as swimming pools. 

Naegleri fowleri  is a naturally occurring microorganism, too small to be visible to the naked eye, that has the potential to cause primary amoebic meningoencephalitis (commonly referred to as ‘amoebic meningitis’).

This disease is extremely rare and the risk of contracting it is very low. Amoebic meningitis is usually un-treatable, with almost all cases being fatal, but with a small chance of successful treatment with antibiotics if a diagnosis is made at a very early stage.

Q. What is the risk to the community?

A. The risks are very low. However, if you or your family used the pool between Saturday 24 November and 5pm Monday 26 November and have any concerns, please seek medical attention immediately and let your doctor know that there was a risk of exposure to Naegleri fowleri.

Symptoms include:

  • Severe and persistent headache
  • Sore throat
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

Later symptoms can include a stiff neck, confusion, lack of attention to people and surroundings, loss of balance and sense of smell, seizures, hallucinations and death.

Q. How could this bacteria form in the Gratwick Aquatic Centre?

A. At this stage, we do not know how the amoeba formed in the Gratwick Aquatic Facility. We are currently investigating the source. 

Q. When will the pool be opened?

A. The safety of the community is our number one priority and as a result we will not be committing to a date for reopen.

Q. While the Gratwick Aquatic Centre is closed, where can I swim?

A. South Hedland Aquatic Centre is located on Leake St, South Hedland. The centre is open from 5am to 8pm Monday to Thursday, 5am to 6pm Friday, 8am to 6pm Saturday, 10am to 6pm on Sunday.

Please note that all information related to Naegleri fowleri is in accordance with advice from the WA Department of Health.