Although no one knows how long it will take for aquatics facilities to be operating like before, it’s clear that COVID-19 has already changed the way facilities will operate forever.
To succeed in a post-COVID world, keep staff on payroll, and make patrons happy, we must find opportunities to maximize what we have while we have it.
During the COVID-19 shutdown, Josh Herbert, aquatics division manager at the City of Albuquerque Parks and Recreation Department, tried a new water treatment system to reduce costs and improve air quality. What he discovered was a smarter solution that he wanted to implement on all of the City of Albuquerque’s pools.
Addressing age-old problems
For many indoor aquatics facilities, maintaining fresh air quality takes time, effort, and resources, especially for heavily used pools open all year, such as the West Mesa Aquatic Center’s indoor leisure pool. With water features, a slide, and a zero-slope entry, the leisure pool provides a handicap-accessible swimming environment for the entire community.
“With the high use, the facility was originally designed with an ozone system which lasted a total of six years,” said Herbert. “The air circulation in the building met minimum air changes but did a poor job at exhausting chloramines.”
Many assume that “pool odor” comes from chlorine. However, it’s actually chloramines, or combined chlorine, the disinfection by-product of chlorine reacting to contaminants such as sweat, lotions, or urea. In addition to odor, DBPs can cause red eyes, irritated skin, allergies, asthma, and other health issues.
To help lower chloramines and provide protection against waterborne illnesses, the aquatic center switched from ozone to UV but Herbert explains what resulted. “That UV system was not only costly to procure but maintenance was reaching up to $8K per year,” said Herbert. “Also, after installing the UV system, our chlorine consumption increased significantly.”
“With the UV system reaching its 10th year, we needed to either replace the unit or find an alternative disinfection method,” said Herbert.
An alternative solution
“After researching alternatives to the expensive UV systems, we found Clear Comfort,” said Herbert. “After seeing the benefits of lower energy consumption, ease of installation, lower maintenance costs, and efficacy of the oxidation potential, we were convinced that this would be a good fit to replace the UV system.”
Herbert decided to install found Clear Comfort’s Advanced Oxidation (AOP) system and monitored results.
“I was amazed,” said Herbert. “In addition to the elimination of combined chlorine, our chlorine consumption has dropped significantly, the water is crystal clear, and has an indescribable feeling of cleanliness.”
In addition to lowering combined chlorine, the West Mesa Aquatic Center benefits from long-term chemical savings. In an independent study, a JCC reduced its chemical use by 41 percent with Clear Comfort.
“Clear Comfort is notably less expensive, did not need a contractor to install the unit, and has a positive effect on other chemicals in the pool,” said Herbert.
Time is money. With a one-hour or less installation needing minimal downtime, Clear Comfort’s AOP is easy to implement and even easier to maintain. The only system maintenance needed with Clear Comfort’s AOP, for example, is an annual 15-minute cartridge exchange that doesn’t require UV lamp handling, professional training, special tools, or annual downtime.
Herbert explains, “Reducing the need for high levels of chorine provides a healthy environment for not only the users of our facilities but also us operators.”
Smarter pools, smarter future
“I’m actively seeking to install Clear Comfort systems on the remaining pool circulation systems we have throughout the City of Albuquerque,” said Herbert. “I would highly recommend Clear Comfort to all pool operators if they are considering an addition to the disinfection system that is affordable, effective, and efficient.”
When the global pandemic has passed, opting for smarter solutions with long-term cost-savings could be the reason your facility kept afloat. With our backs against the wall, we can take this opportunity to save budget, time, and headache.
With AOP and other proven solutions that are the gold standard for everything from spas to waterparks, you can elevate staff and patrons’ experiences now and into the future.
How much can your facility save? To request an AOP cost-saving analysis, please click here.