Problem Solver - August 2011
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Maintain Water Quality at Your Pool

Ensuring proper water quality in the pool is a critical mission for aquatic facility directors. It ensures swimmers are safe from waterborne illnesses, and at the same time, it keeps the water clear—important both for swimmers as well as for lifeguards, from a safety standpoint.

To ensure your water quality is consistent, you need to do several things. First of all, you need to find systems that work in the context of your pool. You also need to be sure you are strictly following required maintenance practices, and keeping detailed records of everything you do to your pool. Finally, when problems do arise, you need to be sure to address them immediately.

Q: What are some of the signs of problems with water quality?

A: There are many indicators that can signal a problem with the water quality of your pool. Cloudy water and algae blooms might be related to chlorination problems.

If you're having difficulty maintaining a chlorine residual, this also is a sign of a problem. Using more and more chlorine might mean you've been inconsistent in the past and your facility has a problem. Such issues might be caused by sweat, urine or various other sources of organic material in the water.

Measurements that indicate a high combined chlorine level also are revealing something's wrong. Combined chlorine, or chloramines, as well as other types of problems, might require you to shock the pool.

It's better to avoid these problems in the first place by engaging in best practices, and working with a system that will do the job of maintaining your pool's water at the highest level.

Q: How can we be proactive to ensure our pool's water doesn't develop problems?

A: Look for a comprehensive water maintenance solution that is designed for commercial pools, using chlorination or bromination as the primary sanitation method. This type of system consists of a number of components, including various feeders and controllers. Talk with manufacturers about your pool's specific needs and demands to determine the proper size for these components.

The system should include recommendations for water balance, sanitizer residuals, shocking and other routine maintenance tasks that are critical to ensure sparkling clear water at your facility.

You can increase the effectiveness of your system by adding a blend of coagulants and clarifiers that work in conjunction with the filtration system to remove undesirable compounds, keeping your water crystal clear and safe for swimmers.

Q: What else should we know?

A: Other maintenance practices are just as important to ensure your pool's water stays clear and healthy.

Keep your pool clean and be sure to vacuum the surface regularly. Also, make sure your equipment is functioning properly. Talk to your manufacturer about regular maintenance procedures for the system you have in place.

You also need to regularly test your water. Generally, local health departments enforce regulations that specify how often you should be testing your pool. You also need to be keeping records of the results of your tests. Ideally, you should be testing the water at least once every couple of hours.

Keeping good records—of when you tested your water, when you cleaned your pool, and any problems you've noticed—is crucial. Good recordkeeping practices can help you solve problems quickly—and it even might help you anticipate issues before they arise. For example, you might notice a specific time of day when your chlorine levels fall below the optimum level. If you're aware of this, you can adjust your practices to deal with the issue.

Ultimately, your swimmers will know if the various systems you have in place are working well. A good system of chemical feeders, controllers and filters, combined with the right maintenance practices, will make for a great swimming experience.


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