Sometimes I think pool operators wish patrons wouldn’t come and swim. No people. No dirt or anything else.
Unfortunately, no people, no problem, no income, no money is a
terrible business model.
What we need are lots of people: babies, kids, mommies, daddies,
mom-mom, pop-pop, in the water and out, splashing, laughing, all
creating a lifetime of memories, having fun and spending
But that’s also where poor pool operators start to stress.
They are responsible for healthy water. They cannot be left alone
with this responsibility; they need help. Total dissolved solids,
murky water, dirty water, chloramines, chlorine smell, high pH
— what to do?
Patron awareness is the most effective way to prevent poor water
quality. People bring in contaminants, but not on purpose. They
might think the bathroom, sink and shower are for cleaning up after
a long day at the waterpark — not before.
Proper signage, constant reminders and knowledgeable people on the
ground to raise patron awareness must emphasize the “need to
clean.” Families planning trips to destination waterparks
rarely consider use of the facilities before entering the parks.
Sunscreen? Check. Crocks or flip flops? Check. Sunglasses? Check.
Snacks? Check. But shower? Wash hands? Maybe, maybe not.
After more than 15 years in the aquatics industry, I’ve had
the opportunity to witness country club, YMCA and community pool
closures due to water contamination. These pool closures might have
been prevented through proper patron awareness. Constant reminders
to use toilets, sinks and showers are paramount to maintaining
happy, healthy water.
Still, people are not always as clean as we would like them to be.
Therefore, operators need to utilize filtration systems capable of
sanitizing these bodies of water in a safe, efficient and
Even if the waterpark does a fantastic job with customer awareness,
it does not mean operators can relax. In fact, awareness is just
the beginning. Education, technology, science and proper execution
of the filtration cycle are key to maintaining happy water.
Fifty years ago, if you had a big slide and a big body of water,
you had a waterpark. Get some lifeguards, a concession stand,
volleyball, four square, check your chlorine in the morning;
broadcast some chlorine and — bam! — you’re in
That’s not the case anymore. Now we have Great Wolf Lodge,
Disney World, Atlantis, Six Flags and many more great parks. These
organizations saw the need to pay attention to water. Their
filtration systems are designed with one thing in mind: water
quality. The systems contain components such as:Regenerative filtration systems. These are
becoming extremely popular, especially in areas where water is a
concern. Water erosion and consumption are becoming problems as
population grows in a given market.Flooded suction pumps with variable-speed
drive. Often referred to as VFD or variable-frequency
drive, these control the pump’s motor speed, allowing you to
dial into the proper flow rate. This can yield significant energy
savings. Chemical automation. This is an
excellent way to ensure proper dosing of chlorine and pH. These
systems take the human error out of the basic chemistry management
while reducing human contact with the chemicals. Automatic water level controllers.
These eliminate the potential for human error in overfilling,
overlooking the need to fill (possible expensive damage to
equipment), and the cost of having someone check all your bodies of
water. Ultraviolet disinfection or UV. This
technology is becoming essential in indoor atmospheres and a huge
asset to outdoor applications. The benefits are enormous in the
disinfection of waterborne pathogens such as
cryptosporidium, giardia and e.
coli. UV can limit the need to superchlorinate, leading
to less chlorine usage and saving money.
All of these components not only increase efficiency, but also use
less energy, time and chlorine. The systems require monitoring,
service and knowledge. Once you have the knowledge, you are on your
way to healthier water.
In the future, technology will lead to even healthier water. Expect
to see programmable logic controllers capable of monitoring and
controlling our applications: chlorine monitoring and dispensing;
pH monitoring and adjusting; water level adjustment; variable-speed
control; UV monitoring; temperature monitoring; automatic
safeguards; and insufficient flow shut-off control.
Such a system most likely will be built off site as a pre-installed
system specifically made for an individual body of water. End users
will be able to set the system, connect the utilities and
commission the entire system themselves. Even with all this
technology and science at our fingertips, we will never be able to
remove the pool operator due to the simple fact that none of these
systems has the ability to think or reason. Preventive maintenance,
proactive troubleshooting and a human touch are crucial in a
successfully clean body of water. So let’s take time to
reiterate patron awareness and thank our operators for healthy