Supplement Feature - May 2019
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New Pool Rules

The Newest Natatorium Designs Offer Something for Everyone

By Rick Dandes


There are several factors to consider when you start deep diving into the technical aspects of a natatorium. The biggest factor, Parisi, said, is "indoor air quality, and that is attributed to two factors: the chemistry of the water and the movement of air inside the natatorium. Typically, from an energy recovery perspective, you do not circulate 100 percent outside air, because that is not economical. You use a dehumidification unit. Here, the strategy is to circulate so people are comfortable."

The goal, Parisi explained, is to have enough air changes inside and to pick up the chloramines that are coming off the top of the pool. Chloramines are chemical compounds that build up in pool water and can lead to red and itchy eyes, and asthma-like symptoms, as well as causing damage and corrosion to equipment in the facility.

Users are breathing air every second they are in that pool, Haug said, "and as you know the water is chlorinated and as soon as the chlorine eats the microbes in the pool you have chloramines created, which can destroy any metal surface in the environment. It is imperative, both for the longevity of the environment and for the quality of the environment to continually pump fresh air into the facility.

Heavier than air, chloramines tend to "hang" above the water in the pool.

"The challenge," Parisi said, "is to get air movement to come down the walls across the top of the pool, from a design perspective, and then get captured at the other end."

There are various methods for handling this, from air handling design to systems designed to pull air across the pool, isolate it and reject the chloramine aspects of that air. This type of system is attached to a dehumidification unit. These systems are most often seen at competition pools.

Always a Challenge

In any facility, Haug said, costs are a major issue, both initial and long-term costs. The other challenge is performance.

There are two things you cannot sacrifice, he explained: consideration of initial and long-term cost and selection of materials and construction technology; and the performance of the facility both in the design and the environment of the pool.

Creating a building that is mindful of cost, uses money wisely, and pays attention to long-term maintenance and durability issues is the goal of any natatorium designer. And, Haug said, "you must create an environment that is both comfortable for spectators, safe for swimmers, and better for the building environment itself."