The quality of the water in a pool is essential to the health and enjoyment of the individuals that use the pool. While this is important for residential pools it is even more important for those that are accessed regularly by the public. The health and safety of the public depends greatly on how well the pool is cared for and how the water is treated. There are a wide variety of factors that can play into the quality of the water of a public pool. There are a series of tests that should be taken on a regular basis. Each local community will have requirements for public pool water chemical levels. It is important that you understand then when offering your pool for access to the public. Public pools might include community pools, hotel pools, local group pools and pools that are used for teaching.
The busier the pool the more frequently testing needs to be accomplished. For busy pools with a great deal of daily traffic, an official should be testing the water for pH levels every two hours or so. Most enforcement codes require that the water is kept at a pH level of 7.2 to 7.8, many public pools are found to be most effective and at their clearest with a level of between 7.4 and 7.6. The levels suggested should be maintained with the proper chemicals in order to provide the public with the best degree of swimming and to keep the pool clear. The chlorine in the pool will be 10 times more effective when the pH is in the correct range. The proper testing with the most accurate results is best accomplished with the use of drop test kits rather than test strip test kits. This is due largely because the test strips can be easily misread.
Lowering the pH levels can best be accomplished with the help of hydrochloric acid, also known as muriatic acid. This must be careful circulated through the deep end of the pool allowing for the water to properly dilute the chemical.
In some pools there is a consistent bouncing of pH levels. This is termed the bounce problem and is most often due to a very low total alkalinity level. pH that is adjusted property should be able to maintain the right level for anywhere from 1 to 3 weeks. Of course, these levels depend greatly on whether the pool has been subjected to environmental factors that can change the pool’s chemical levels.
One telltale sign that a pool has too much pH in it is that the swimmers complain of a burning eye. This burning eye is due to the high level of pH and not the chlorine level as is often the misconception.
Cyanuric acid is considered to be a stabilized chlorine product and is used for pools located outside. The use of cyanuric acid is for stabilizing the levels of chlorine in the pool and to protect the chlorine from the rays of the sun. It is much like a sunscreen for the chlorine in the pool. If too much cyanuirc acid is used, it can be harder to kill crypto and it can cause the chlorine levels to lock up. The levels of the cyanuric acid should not exceed 50 ppm.
Chlorine is used as disinfectant in pools in order to kill off most types of bacteria. The levels must be carefully monitored with testing occurring as many as three times daily. Each local health code may provide different timelines for this testing. The more individuals that are in the pool during the day, the more bacteria there will be. Testing more frequently on days when the pool receives a great deal of traffic is the key to success. If the pool does not use cyanuric acid, the typical required chlorine level should be 1.0 ppm. If the area contains cyanuric acid a level of 2.0 ppm for pools and 3.0 ppm for spas is acceptable.
The appropriate hardness of the water in a public pool or spa should be no more than 400 ppm. The level of hardness will be directly relational to the levels of pH and the temperature of the water in the area. The calculations for the ppm can be made with the help of the Langelier Saturation Index. This is used to calculate water composition. If the water is harder than this, it is vital that. If the water is too hard or too soft adjustments will need to be made. The calcium check should be accomplished on a monthly basis.
Alkaline is the anchor factor for the pH level in the water. The testing for alkalinity should bring a reading of between 80 ppm and 150 ppm. If you are not having any trouble with pH levels in the pool or hot tub, you do not need to test for alkaline levels more than once a week.
Combined Chloramine and Chlorine Levels
There is a way to avoid the stink that a pool can sometimes have. Monitoring the combined chloramine and chlorine levels on a weekly basis can provide you with a means of keeping the pool clean. The smell will begin to become noticeable if the levels of combined chloramine and chlorine reach 0.4 ppm. Hyperchlorination can provide you with a means to lower the chloramine levels.
Source Water Testing
It can be of great benefit to run a pH, total alkalinity, calcium hardness and chlorine levels test on the source water or water that the pool uses. This testing will help identify any major changes to the water and it can help to keep the pool on track with regard to the chemical levels. It can also be beneficial on a larger scale by helping to detect potential problems with the water system, particularly if it is drinking water.
The total dissolved matter within water, including calcium, carbonates, magnesium, bicarbonates and metallic compounds is dissolved solids. This level should be monitored for any problems.
Shocking the pool is the term used for adding shock treatment to the pool. This treatment uses chemicals to destroy organic pollutants and control algae. It also makes it easier for chlorine to do its job. Over time chlorine can bind itself to other pool chemicals such as nitrogen and ammonia. This makes the chlorine ineffective against bacteria and can leave swimmers with skin and eye irritation. The occasional shock treatment can make a difference in how the pool chemicals do their jobs.
How to Dose Your Pool
When problems with the various chemical levels are detected it is often important to make chemical adjustments. It is unwise to simply drop in chlorine pellets or add chemicals to the pool. When possible, using floating chlorine feeders and one of the many automatic chemical feeders available can provide you with the right amount of chemicals dissolving slowly over time. Simply dropping the tablets into the pool skimmer could cause problems with your filtration system. At the onset, the chemical levels in the tablets will be high and this means that when it is sucked into the filtration system it can be very harmful to the components of the filtration system, even causing premature failing.
Keep a Record
Some local agencies require that public pools keep a log of their chemical readings and treatments. Even if yours does not, it is a wise idea and it could greatly benefit you as you note trends in changes of the pools chemical levels. Be sure that you keep a log including the date and time of the test, the chemicals tested, the results and the changes that have been made, if any.
Keep in mind that the more people use the pool, the higher the amount of pollutant in the water. This means you will have bouncing chemical readings if you are not on top of the situation and testing regularly. Making frequent adjustments is not uncommon in a public pool system.
Remember that there are other things that can alter the pool water quality including the environment around the pool. This is especially true if the pool is outdoors. The sun, heat and even what the trees are doing around the pool can have a direct relationship to the chemical levels that you are reading. Pollen levels and other conditions can change the results of your pool’s chemical balance. On very hot days it is wise to check the pool chemical levels frequently. Both the heat levels and the volume of people can dramatically affect the way that the pool looks, smells and the quality of the water.
There are some signs that are obvious when you are looking to see if your pool is clean or not. If you see any of these things, even if you don’t have a water test scheduled, you should take samples and test the levels. You might smell heavy doses of chlorine in the water or perhaps you can smell something simply unpleasant. These are signs that there is a problem with the levels of chlorine or pH in your pool. You will want to make sure that you take tests right away and figure the issues out. If the water looks cloudy or has a slight color of green to it, there is a likelihood that algae has started to grow. This means you will need to change the amount of chlorine in the pool. This may also be illustrated by swimmers complaining of skin irritation, eye burning or problems with the pool water.
If the pool gets too far into a need for chlorine you will find it hard to keep up. It is important that you watch this carefully and keep those levels where they need to be to avoid major treatment issues. The problem can spin out of control in no time at all and be very hard to come back from.
While keeping the regular testing underway each day, week and month during the use season is vital, there may come a time when you need to seek professional help. It is wise to have a professional in the pool industry come in and test the pool water a couple times a year. In some states or communities there may be a requirement regarding how often you must have these tests professional accomplished. Make sure that you know the health codes in your area regarding public pool testing.
Public pools are an excellent way for communities to get together and cool off in the summer. They act as good locations for teaching students how to swim and they are a perfect place for children to enjoy. It is essential to the safety of the participants that the pool is monitored carefully. You want them to be able to fully enjoy the pool all summer long.