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Constantly improving thermal water quality in France

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The health checks of thermal establishments carried out between 2015 and 2017 highlight the compliance of the waters with the limits set by national regulations, which are particularly strict in view of their therapeutic aim.

Over 98% microbiological compliance for eaux thermales in 2017, by combining analyzes at the resource and at therapeutic use points. This is what the report published by the Directorate General of Health (DGS), reporting tests carried out by Regional health agencies (ARS) between 2015 and 2017. It is also based on the monitoring developed by the operator during the thermal seasons.

Good microbiological quality, with a slight loss between the resource and the points of use

Over this period, 20 thermal baths were thus affected by inspections. While 114 centers in activity were listed in 2019, this represents 18% of all structures providing cures. At the same time, on-site checks were carried out in 36 establishments. In total, 28 samples samples of thermal waters were therefore carried out. They made it possible to collect more than 500 results. 

In general, the number of analyzes performed has increased significantly since 2014, as has the microbiological quality. Their overall compliance rate rose from 95,5% to 98,1% between 2001 and 2017. The conclusions of the ARS therefore highlight a good microbiological quality thermal waters: 91,6% of samples were found to be compliant, as were 98% of analyzes. In detail, two observation points stand out: the resource and the thermal use points. To the resource, the thermal water samples meet the national requirements at 95,4% and the analyzes are proven to be 98,8%. About the therapeutic use points (thermal pools included), compliance rates are lower: 91,2% of samples comply with regulations and 97,9% of analyzes were approved.

For information, when a noncompliance is noticed during a health check, the ARS carries out an investigation, based on a re-check or even a verification of the results provided by the operator. The non-conformities confirmed at the level of the resource may require a renovation of the installations, the operating conditions or, in the worst case, the abandonment of the catchments. When the points of use are concerned, infrastructure disinfection operations are necessary. Between 2015 and 2017, a notice and activity suspensions for 29 thermal establishments. In addition, administrative closures were imposed on 5 centers.

© Wolfgang hasselmann - Unsplash

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