Happiness is…a clean pool!
As you are probably aware, where there is water, there is life – and swimming pools are no different to this fact. Swimming pools are living, growing organisms in themselves, and keeping them clean, clear and ‘swimmable’ takes tremendous effort.
You may be surprised to learn that bathers are the primary source of pollution in pools, as they introduce a wide variety of pollutants; then there are human-made product pollutants such as deodorants, moisturisers, make-up, hair gel, aftershave, and so on.
Even the mains water supply we receive from Anglian Water contains chemicals and mineral salts such as magnesium, calcium, chlorine, and phosphates. All these chemicals and pollutants, human-made or otherwise, can contribute to ‘unbalanced’ water in our pool.
And this is why we request you follow personal hygiene rules such as using the toilet and showering before entering the pool for your class.
So, how do we maintain a clean, pollutant-free pool? Well, apart from scrubbing surfaces and regularly vacuuming our pool, disinfection is a significant factor for maintaining a clean pool.
Chlorine is the most common disinfectant for swimming pools, but because of our clientele (i.e. babies and small children), when we discussed the pool design requirements with our pool company, we chose to use bromine as the primary disinfectant. Chlorine is a bleach-based chemical, whereas bromine is salt-based, which we believe is kinder on the skin and eyes of bathers.
We achieve secondary disinfection via an inline UV sanitation system plumbed into the filtration system in the plant room. Recycled pool water passes through a sand filter and then UV chamber to trap and neutralise any bacteria and microorganisms before returning ‘clean’ water to the pool.
During your classes, you may have noticed our pool attendants regularly collecting a sample of pool water from a particular area of the pool. It is essential that we gather samples from the same area of the pool and at a certain depth each time.
We test these samples for the level of bromine in the pool and to measure the pH value, i.e. is the pool water acid (soft) or alkali (hard). The pH scale ranges between 0 and 14 with seven being neutral. Because of the chlorine (or bromine) disinfection used in swimming pools the ideal pH level for swimming is between 7.2 and 7.6, with 7.4 being the optimum level.
We use a photometer water testing instrument which passes a beam of light through the water sample and then measures the strength of this light on the opposite side of the device. Photometers require annual recalibration to ensure accurate measurement and functionality.
The Pool Water Treatment and Advisory Group (PWTAG) publication ‘Swimming Pool Water: Treatment and Quality Standards for Pools and Spas’ governs our pool maintenance. The PWTAG recommended pool water testing frequency is a minimum of three times per day, but every 3 to 4 hours is good practice. We choose to test our pool water samples every two hours, again because of our specific clientele.
Apart from the daily bi-hourly bromine and pH testing, we conduct a weekly balanced water test. Besides the average bromine and pH test, the weekly analysis includes measurement of the total alkalinity of our pool, the calcium hardness in the water, and something called the total dissolved solids.
Bi-weekly pool water samples are collected from our pool by an external company who transport them in a refrigerated container to a laboratory for microbiological testing. PWTAG specify this testing must happen monthly, however, due to the nature of our client base, we undertake to test bi-weekly throughout the year. All our water testing results are recorded and retained for two years.
And there it is – a brief insight into how hard we work to provide you with a beautiful, clean pool!
Thank you for swimming with us.
Footnote: As well as producing swimming pool quality standards publications, PWTAG accredits the Swimming Pool Technical Operator course. Generally, swimming pool operators employ at least one, maybe two, qualified technicians, but Calmababy are proud to confirm we have four staff members who have successfully achieved the qualification.