The spa in the main fitness suite at the Valley Leisure Centre has been closed as a precautionary measure while water safety tests are carried out, Newtownabbey Borough Council said this week. The move comes amidst controversy over inaccurate laboratory certificates issued to the Council by a firm contracted to test the water at the leisure centre for the potentially deadly bacteria which cause legionnaires disease.

The firm which issued the inaccurate certificates says that subsequent tests have confirmed that there is no safety issue and that they are co-operating fully with a Health and Safety Executive probe into the matter.

Healthy Buildings International [HBI] said in a statement yesterday: “HBI has recently been made aware of an incident regarding a small number of laboratory certificates handed to a customer [Newtownabbey Borough Council] in July 2011. The certificates were not accurate but subsequent tests have confirmed that there were no health issues for either the public or employees of this customer.” HBI said its investigation of the matter has revealed that it was “strictly an isolated incident” and added that it is seeking legal advice in relation to the employee concerned.

A Council spokesperson told the North Belfast News: “The Council takes its health and safety responsibilities very seriously and as a precaution the spa in the Zest Fitness Suite at the Valley Leisure Centre is closed temporarily whilst tests to reassure the public that the spa is safe are carried out.”

Newtownabbey Mayor, Alderman Billy Webb, said: “I would like to reassure the public that the Council has a rigorous legionella policy in operation. In addition to a comprehensive cleaning regime, hot and cold water systems are routinely sampled for legionella bacteria. All tests from June 2011 have been clear.”