Guest Column - April 2006
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Using Total Water Management


By Susan Shelor

The job of facility manager is akin to being a juggler—managing personnel and operations efficiently while keeping your facility appealing to guests or members as you stay on budget. These priorities often conflict. And it is no secret that aquatic facilities can be appealing assets but drain resources. Pools can be a huge money pit unless the proper system and expert maintenance team is in place.

One approach that ensures professional monitoring and maintenance while adhering to a budget is Total Water Management (TWM). TWM is a turnkey approach to pool care that maximizes efficiency and reduces cost factors associated with water, energy, labor, repairs and chemicals while helping to keep hard-earned dollars from going down the drain. TWM includes remote monitoring, affordable rental or leasing programs, and pool-care professionals who handle monitoring and maintenance for the system.

A TWM approach can improve an aquatic facility in a number of ways: saving money by offering rent or lease programs with the option of a negotiated payment schedule, improving air quality, reducing hazardous chemical storage and handling, and boosting profits by differentiating your facility with a luxurious "Mineral Spa" experience. With saline chlorination (described in more detail below), swimmers enjoy the silky smooth mineral pool feeling, and less chemical maintenance is required since chlorine is generated on-site within the system.

What is saline chlorination?

Saline chlorination systems may bring marked improvement in water appearance and conditions, providing a swimming experience that differentiates you from your competitors. Having a mineral-spa-type pool can be a strong selling point to guests. Better yet, the system eliminates the burning eyes and irritated skin that are typically associated with pools maintained with other chlorine-based chemicals.

With saline chlorination, chlorine is produced within the system, reducing handling and storage issues associated with tablets or chlorine bleach and acid to treat the pool. This minimizes the need to store chemicals in an on-site facility. Saline chlorination systems can produce up to 25 pounds a day, replacing the need for large amounts of hazardous chemicals.

Sanitizer costs also are locked in because sanitizer is produced on-site, so you are no longer at the mercy of price fluctuations for sanitizer such as those experienced in 2004. Leasing or rental programs also are available without capital cash outlays, often meaning additional savings.

In the past, many saline chlorination systems could not handle effectively high bather loads that typically accompany commercial facilities. New technology has emerged that makes saline chlorination an ideal treatment solution for almost every commercial application and is already in place at Four Seasons Hotels and YMCA locations throughout the country.

Because of these chemical and financial benefits, many commercial facilities are turning to saline chlorination. It is replacing a large portion of the traditional sanitizer chemicals in the United States and is very common in many international markets, including Australia and South Africa.

On-site controllers and remote monitoring

Controllers constantly monitor and clearly display balance levels on-site. They work together with remote monitoring systems to allow for careful maintenance of the pool's water chemistry balance.

When connected with an on-site controller, remote monitoring ensures that system imbalances are known and addressed immediately, before they can cause damage to the pool facility. This also eliminates the cost of having to bring in chemicals to rebalance the system.

Rapid notification also can prevent downtime for your pool facility, which equates to happier customers and less headaches for you and your staff.