Managing a swimming pool, especially a community swimming pool, brings the challenge of keeping the pool water hygienic. A hygienic swimming pool means a facility that maintains the water’s pH balance, has a lower or acceptable level of biocides, complete control over algae’s growth, and continuously filtered water. Failure to maintain these criteria results in an increased risk of infection, damage to human skin from exposure to chemicals, or itching and irritation on different body parts.
More info about swimming pool water treatment can be found at World
Living Water Systems Ltd.
This article serves to be a rudimentary process to stick to for swimming pool water treatment and a breakdown of the different steps involved in keeping the swimming pool water fresh.
Why do you need to treat swimming pool water?
Stagnant water can become home to harmful microbes and impurities that can alter the water’s chemical composition. Water is an easy medium for contracting different forms of water-borne diseases. Some of the other reasons for pool water treatment are:
- Prevent the growth of pathogens
- Discourage algal formation
- Keep the water free from harsh chemicals that cause irritation or itchiness to the skin.
- Not allowing the properties of the water from changing (smell, color, taste)
- Avoid pools surrounding corrosions.
- Prevent scale formation in the pool
A step by step guide on How to Maintain a Pool Water Treatment
These systems are a complex system made up of pumps, connecting pipes, fittings & valves, filtration system, disinfectant system, pressure monitors, etc. The overall breakdown of how the system works is:
- The pump draws the water from the pool.
- The filter removes any impurities.
- The disinfectant system uses UV lights to disinfect the filtered water.
- The pure water is sent back to the pool via outlets.
Hence, to have a continuous swimming pool water treatment process, maintenance needs to be tackled in multiple steps.
Step 1: Clean the skimmer basket
The skimmer basket is a rectangular box mesh at the inlet pipe opening that traps large debris and prevents critters and frogs from entering. From the cumulative collection of waste, the pump needs to work harder to pull the water inside. Depending on the frequency of pool usage, it is advisable to clean the skimmer basket once every week at the least. Since the skimmer basket traps most of the larger debris, only smaller trash might be collected at the water pump basket and cleaned once every fortnight if the need arises.
Step 2: Clean the filter
As explained earlier, the water from the pool enters a filtration system that runs the water through a series of filters to remove soluble impurities in it. Depending on the filter type, it may need to be cleaned or changed periodically. A good indication for cleaning the filter is to monitor the pressure monitor of the pump or the filter gauge pressure. If the pump runs 10psi higher than usual, it indicates that the pump is working extra hard to pull in the water, which means the water is not passing quickly through the filtration system.
Step 3: Chemically shock the water biweekly
‘Shocking’ the water is adding a high concentration of chlorine to start a process of super-chlorination. This breaks down the Combined Available Chlorine (CAC) and brings back a healthy level of Freely Available Chlorine (FAC). Excessive amounts of CAC cause the pool to have a Chlorine odor and cause irritation to the skin.
The amount of pool usage determines the frequency for ‘shocking’ your pool water. Experts suggest one pound of “shock” for every 10,000 gallons of pool water. Use a free-chlorine test kit to determine the need. Moreover, only use the shock during the night time or dusk for two main reasons:
- Sun’s radiation ‘eat’ up the free-chlorine
- You need to pump the water and circulate it for at least 8 hours (so the pool needs to be empty)
Step 4: Balance the properties of your pool water
Depending upon usage, the pool water can quickly change its properties and turn foul, hence needing to be tested periodically. You can buy water testing kits from your local pool supply store to check the water’s individual properties and use appropriate chemicals to replenish any missing property.
The essential properties that can be checked from a pool water testing kit are:
- pH balance
The pH of normal water is seven, and experts suggest that the pool water should be around 7.5pH. High or low pH levels can make the water acidic (low pH value) or basic (high pH value). Algae cannot survive in acidic water, but the water’s acidity can lead to equipment corrosion. On the other hand, at a high pH value, you can face an infestation of algae (discussed later)
Calcium is one of the most commonly found minerals in the water. Unless you maintain a balance of the amount of calcium in your pool water, you are in for expensive maintenance. The amount of calcium determines the pool water’s hardness and should be around 200-400 ppm. Go low, and the water will ‘eat’ away from the pool’s plaster or the vinyl liner. Go high, and you’ll have hard-to-remove calcium deposits on the pool surface that can easily scrape or cut someone if left unchecked.
Chlorine acts as a sanitizer in the pool water and breaks down harmful bacteria present in it. The consequences of not maintaining the chlorine have been covered earlier.
Phosphates in the pool water come from the dead leaves and are the food source for algae and other aquatic vegetations. The goal is to keep the phosphate levels below 1000 ppb to restrict the pool’s algal growth. Also, phosphates can use up the chlorine in the pool water quicker and require you to ‘shock’ your pool more frequently.
Step 5: Scrub off algae residue on the pool surface
Algae can multiply in the pool water from the absence of disinfectant and easily stick to the pool surface and the steps, ladders, cracks, and crevices. This makes those surfaces very slippery and hence, a hazard. Moreover, the algae also lead to discoloration of the pool water and lead to poor underwater visibility. There are three types of algae growth possible in the water:
- Green Algae
The chemical shock can remove the most common type along with chlorine.
- Dull Yellow or Mustard Algae
Bit more tricker version, this algae type clings onto different surfaces and can only be removed by manual scrubbing paired with the chemical shock treatment.
- Black Algae
The most difficult algae type requires strong algaecide along with multiple chemical shocks to stop it from reappearing.
Investing in a UV disinfectant can help algae management as the UV light inside kills all the bacteria and algae present in the water. Unfortunately, it can only remove the algae from your water and is useless if algae are already growing in your pool before installation. Hence, install a UV disinfectant early on or after the thorough removal of algae from the walls.
In the pursuit of a crystal-clear and algae-free swimming pool, it is essential to establish a pool water treatment routine and periodic testing. Additionally, take quick steps at the first signs of discoloration, cloudy water, scaling issues to avoid shutting off the pool for maintenance. By following the above tips and providing regular care to your pool, you will enjoy peace of mind.