Problem Solver - August 2013
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Maintain Water Clarity

If you operate an aquatic park or pool, you know how important water clarity is. Clear water is the key to swimmer safety—in terms of both ensuring water quality and ensuring that lifeguards can see swimmers in the pool. Keeping your water quality consistent—and your water consistently clear—means strictly following the recommended maintenance practices designed for your pool and its filtration and chlorination systems. In most localities, there are regulations that will determine how often you need to test your water and keep continual records of everything you do to your pool and its water. Make a daily inspection by walking past your pool and through your equipment room. When you do notice changes in water clarity, unusual sounds or odors, you need to take action right away.

Q: How can we be proactive to prevent trouble with the water in our pool?

A: You can keep things running smoothly with a comprehensive water maintenance solution that is tailored to your pool and that uses either chlorination or bromination as a primary sanitation method. These types of systems are designed with feeders and controllers that help keep things in working order by continually adjusting to the changing conditions of your pool. Be sure to speak with manufacturers about your pool's size and peak usage, and they'll be able to help you tailor a system that meets your needs perfectly.

Once you've got the right system installed, you need to educate yourself and employees about how the system works, as well as the manufacturer's recommendations for maintaining water balance and sanitizer residuals. Be sure you and your staff are aware of all the routine maintenance tasks that are necessary to keep your pool water safe and clear.

When undesirable compounds are found in your pool's water, you can add a blend of coagulants and clarifiers that work in conjunction with your filtration system to remove the problem.

Q: What are some of the signs that our pool's water has a problem?

A: Ideally, you are taking preventive action, so that problems don't occur. Be sure you and your staff are following recommended best practices for your pool, using systems designed to meet your pool's needs by maintaining water quality. You also should be continually testing and checking your pool's water to help you stay ahead of any problems as they occur.

If you are having difficulty maintaining a chlorine residual—requiring you to add more and more chlorine to your pool—you definitely have a problem. This is likely due to sources of organic material in the water, such as sweat or urine. If your water is cloudy, you likely have a filtration issue. Signs of algae can point to chlorination problems.

If you find a high combined chlorine level during your regular testing, you have a problem. Combined chlorine, also known as chloramines, means you'll have to shock the pool, which requires a temporary shut-down.

Q: What else should we be aware of?

A: In addition to relying on the proper filtration and sanitization solution for your pool's needs, you should be aware of regular maintenance requirements. Don't forget to vacuum and brush your pool's surfaces regularly. Your manufacturer should be able to explain the regular maintenance procedures you should be performing on your various filtration and sanitization systems.

In addition, you need to be vigilant about testing your water on a regular basis. Local health departments generally issue regulations that determine how often you need to test your water. Ideally, you'll test the water once every couple of hours, keeping an eye on changing usage and adjusting your testing schedule to be sure you're ahead of the kinds of problems that can develop as usage peaks during the day. Keep a written record of all your test results to stay ahead of problems as they develop. This also gives you a record to fall back on when issues do occur.

Your pool's water will tell you if your systems are in working order. The right maintenance practices, in combination with chemical feeders, controllers and filters chosen to fit your pool's needs, will keep swimmers safe and happy.


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