Pool Genetics

Even with today’s sophisticated pool equipment and systems, some aquatic centers still struggle with water-quality problems.

Know your pool's genetic makeup when troubleshooting water quality problems. Photo Courtesy Paul Turang

If a facility is not appealing to the eyes and nose, such problems may result in a revenue loss as the public takes its fitness and recreation dollars to a competing venue.

It is important to remember that a swimming pool has its own ecological balance that is affected by both genetic makeup as well as environmental influences. Successfully operating a healthy swimming pool with good water quality requires a systematic approach to addressing all of the pool’s components.

Six primary factors contribute to water quality:

• Pool-water circulation

• Pool-water filtration

• Water chemical balance

• Chlorine efficacy

• Pool hygiene

• Pool lighting.

Understanding a pool’s genetic makeup (equipment and systems) will go a long way in determining what areas may or may not be affecting water quality.

In a recent phone conversation, a facility operator said he needed assistance in solving a water-quality problem caused by the filter system and based on information provided by the chemical supplier.

In another meeting, a different client asked for help solving his cloudy water problems caused by the water chemistry. When asked how he determined that the chemical system was the culprit, he revealed that the filter supplier told him.

In both cases, the actual causes of cloudy water were not what the pool operators thought. It is common for operators to turn to suppliers for advice only to realize the latest solution offered does not solve the problem.

Water-quality symptoms are usually divided into four categories:

• Turbid water

• Cloudy water

• Foul-smelling water

• Dull or hazy water.

Is your pool water hazy? Photo Courtesy arvydas

Turbid Water

Let’s revisit the example with the client who thought his water-quality issues came from the filters. Over time, staff members purchased and used several filter-aid products, but could not achieve clear water.

A turbidimeter determined that the water in the pool had a Nephelometric Turbidity Unit (NTU) reading of more than 2.5. The turbidity at the pool surge tank revealed an NTU reading of 1.5. The turbidity of the water before entering the pool filters was 1.5 NTUs. Lastly, the turbidity after the use of filters had a reading of 0.4 NTUs.

Based on these facts, it was concluded that the pool-filtration system was working perfectly in removing the particulate as intended. In examining the other pool systems, it was discovered the cloudiness was actually caused by a deficiency in the pool-circulation system that could not transfer the solid particles to the filter system so they could be removed.

Cloudy Water

At a community-college facility, pool operators requested assistance with the chemical-treatment systems, as they were convinced the cloudy water was caused by a malfunctioning system; however, a full panel of tests determined the system was working properly.

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