Supplement Feature - February 2008
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A Perfect Storm

Are Water and Air Quality on Your Radar Screen Yet?

By Joseph Ryan


EDUCATE YOUR SWIMMERS

Aside from large changes in pool equipment, aquatic facility managers can also take other avenues to protect against water and air quality issues. Education and pool policies seem to top the list for most experts.

Customers should be advised, mostly through postings, not to swim for at least two weeks after having had diarrhea. For children's pools, experts recommend instituting a break every 30 minutes to encourage the tots to use the bathroom.

Shower-before-you-swim regulations must be strictly enforced and displayed. After all, the less sweat and skin that get in the pool, the more likely pool chemistry will stay in balance. Toner recommends installing a shower near the pool in plain view to further encourage and regulate the policy.

As for air quality, make sure the facility has adequate ventilation and keep it running, even in winter.

"We are always surprised that we find people who shut those outside dampers to save the energy. It happens all the time," Coursin said.

But soon, experts seem to agree, simply making modest moves toward a cleaner and healthier aquatic facility will no longer be enough.

Bottom line: At some point—and it may be sooner rather than later—pool operators may not have a choice when it comes to protecting against air and water quality problems.

"Five years ago I think people could claim ignorance," Lachocki said. "We can't put our head in the sand with all the information we have today. Irresponsibleness never attracts more customers."