Diving into Pool Water

Oct. 3, 2009
Tips for treating and maintaining pool water

About the author: Stephanie Harris is managing editor of Water Quality Products. Harris can be reached at 847.391.1007 or by e-mail at [email protected].

Whether you are a water treatment professional experienced in pools and spas, or you are just getting your feet wet in recreational water treatment, it is always helpful to be educated on best practices for pool and spa water quality. Stephanie Harris, managing editor of Water Quality Products, recently spoke with Thomas Lachocki, Ph.D., CEO of the National Swimming Pool Foundation, to discuss best treatment practices for pools and spas.

Stephanie Harris: How is pool and spa treatment similar and different to other water treatment applications?

Thomas Lachocki: Swimming pool and spa (recreational water) treatment has many similarities to other water treatment applications. Achieving sanitary conditions, water balance that is friendly to surfaces, equipment and people, and good water clarity are key goals.

Because contaminants are constantly added to recreational water via the environment and whenever a person enters the water, there are some differences. Proper disinfectant levels and water balance must be maintained at all times. Water is circulated, filtered, treated and returned to the pool. In addition to disinfection and filtration, there is a growing trend to incorporate a third level of protection such as ultraviolet, ozone or enhanced filtration to further protect swimmers in public pools.

Harris: What are best practices for keeping pool water safe for swimming?

Lachocki: Automation and technology have long been used with larger public pools and are migrating to small-public and backyard pools. Probes and controllers that interface with chemical feeders are excellent ways to maintain proper pH and disinfectant levels and to make pool care easier for owners. These technologies are particularly useful in high-demand environments like spas, wading pools and heavy-use pools.

Aquatic play features are also being installed in smaller public pools and high-end residential pools to increase their recreational appeal. There are many specialty products to control algae, scale, cloudy water and surface staining available, all of which help maintain the aesthetic beauty of swimming pools.

Harris: What are the dangers of swimming pools that are not properly treated and maintained?

Lachocki: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention documents thousands of people infected with recreational water illnesses each year. As a result, engineering controls, operational procedures and consumer warnings and guidance are important.

Harris: Have significant legislation or safety codes recently passed regarding swimming pool safety of which operators should be aware?

Lachocki: Two federal laws govern different aspects related to pool and spa safety. The first, the Federal Insecticide Fungicide & Rodenticide Act, has governed all products sold in the U.S. that claim to kill or mitigate pests. This law gives authority to the U.S. EPA to review and approve all product labels.

In December 2007, the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool & Spa Safety Act was signed into law by President Bush and went into effect in December 2008. Among other provisions, the act requires all drain covers to comply with a national standard to help prevent suction entrapment. All public pools must have compliant covers, and in cases where there are single drains plumbed directly to a pump, additional levels of protection may be needed. wqp

For more information, contact Thomas M. Lachocki, Ph.D., at 719.540.9119 or by e-mail at [email protected].

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About the Author

Stephanie Harris

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