Category Archives: Water Treatment

2014 Pool & Spa Operator™ Handbook Released

The 2014 edition of the Pool & Spa OperatorHandbook, published by non-profit National Swimming Pool Foundation® (NSPF®), is now available and includes important updates and a new look. Offered in English and Spanish with both U.S. and Metric units, this fundamental training and reference manual is including operators, health officials, service who help keep pools safer, and open. Important updates to the 2014 version are found in Chapters 2, 6, 16, and Appendix C-3.

  • Chapter 2: Updated Material Safety Data Sheet section with information about transition to SDS (Safety Data Sheets) terminology and the Globally Harmonized System (GHS).
  • Chapter 6: A short section about the Ryznar Stability Index (RSI), another saturation index used by some industry professionals, has been added.
  • Chapter 16: Now includes a brief section, which describes the new Swimming Pool & Spa Routine Maintenance online course from NSPF.
  • Appendix C-3: A summary on two new Module Aquatic Health Code (MAHC) modules has been added: Fecal/Blood/Vomit Contamination Response module; and Preface/User Guide/Glossary modules are now included.

“NSPF has once again updated the Pool & Spa Operator handbook to be the most current reference manual in the industry. This will ensure that NSPF Instructors and professionals who focus on keeping pools and spas safer, and open, are educating to the most current industry standards,” said Alex Antoniou, Ph.D., NSPF Director of Educational Programs. The Pool & Spa Operator Handbook is also wearing a new cover with a copy of original artwork in pastel, titled “Swimmer” created in 1997, by acclaimed artist Mela Lyman, whose passion for swimming is often reflected in her artwork. Lyman has been on the faculty of The School of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston and the combined degree program at Tufts University for over 20 years. To see more of Mela Lyman’s art, visit www.MelaLyman.

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Pool Covers: Helping You Prepare for Energy Savings

Winter is fast approaching and as daily temperatures decrease, heating costs increase.  Whether you have an indoor aquatic facility or a year-round outdoor swimming pool, thoughtful consideration should be given to installing thermal pool covers on your swimming pool during non-operational hours.  Pool covers save money and reduce energy use. a They accomplish this by conserving heat, reducing evaporative water loss, and reducing chemical losses.

Contrary to popular belief, pool covers stop evaporation but they only insulate to a small degree.  Insulation contributes from one to ten percent of the energy savings for pools (and possibly up to twenty percent of the energy savings for spas).  Evaporation retardation is overwhelmingly the larger contributor.

A common misconception is that pool IMGP1971covers do not provide a benefit for indoor facilities.  Although the indoor air temperature is typically +/- 2 Degrees F of the water temperature, evaporation still occurs in indoor swimming pools.  Every drop of chemically treated and heated pool water that evaporates must be replaced with domestic fresh water at an incoming temperature significantly less than pool water temperature.  The cost to chemically treat and heat the fill water to pool water temperature is substantial.

Calculate your own savings today at the following link:

MAHC Recirculation Systems and Filtration

CDC posts the Model Aquatic Health Code’s module for Recirculation Systems and Filtration for public comment with a closing date of October 9, 2013.

To view the latest updates regarding the Model Aquatic Health Code go to

The Recirculation Systems and Filtration module was initially released earlier this summer for public comment but has been re-released to encourage further review and feedback.

Health issues related to waterborne diseases as well as exposure to chemicals associated with pool water are increasingly being documented. The Recirculation Systems and Filtration Module is a first step towards improving water quality at aquatic facilities and reducing associated health effects. The Recirculation Systems and Filtration Module contains design and construction requirements that are, unless otherwise specified, applicable only for new or modified construction. New and improved elements include:

  1. More aggressive turnover times and more uniform standards for recirculation system design and operation.
  2. Filter design and operation standards that will promote more effective and efficient filtration.
  3. Requiring water replenishment to dilute out the dissolved contaminants that cannot be removed by pool filters.
  4. Development of a long-term plan to use pool filters for pathogen removal in addition to water clarity in a multiple barrier system that would complement all disinfection processes.
  5. Use of improved flow meters

MAHC Background:

The Model Aquatic Health Code (MAHC) effort began in February 2005 and the latest round of modules is being published for public comment. The MAHC will have a significant impact on the aquatic industry and we strongly encourage all industry members to take an active role in providing meaningful feedback to develop the best possible result.

The first industry standard was issued in 1958. In the subsequent 50 years, there have been at least 50 different state codes and many independent county codes. What was required in one jurisdiction may be illegal in another. It is clear that this historic approach is not working. Thus, the National Swimming Pool Foundation took a leadership position and provided funding to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) for the creation of the MAHC. The MAHC is intended to transform the patch work of industry codes into a data-driven, knowledge-based, risk reduction effort to prevent disease, injuries and promote healthy water experiences.

Music Videos: Swimmer Re-mix!

For years musicians have been featuring pools as center pieces for their music videos. The problem is that swimming hasn’t been the focus, it’s been the partying and extravagance being showcased. Recently lifeguards, swimmers, and even pool maintenance professionals have gotten into the mix and have made aquatics the true center piece. Here is a list of my top 5 favorite “swimming videos”. I believe these creative expressions stem from staring at the bottom of a pool for hours upon hours, or maybe it’s breathing chlorine fumes for too long.


Splash on em:

Featuring a cast of multi-national Olympian swimmers including Ed Moses, Mike Alexandrov, Max Jaben, Azan AL-Barazi, and Katie Hoff, this is what swimmers do in their off-time.  Filmed at SPLASH in La Mirada, CA this original song shows what swimmers think about while starting at the lane markings on the bottom of a pool.


Pool Care Rap Video

How do you make pool care and maintenance interesting, ask Matt Giovanisci.  His original song and video literally “steps” you through how to care for a pool and keep the water “sparkling clean.”


Call Me Maybe USA Olympic Swimming Team

Spearheaded by a few key members of the USA Women’s 2012
Olympic Swim Team, this video shows the lighter side of training only weeks
before the London Olympic Games.


Harlem Shake: University of Georgia Men’s Swim Team

Remember the Harlem Shake? Well so will University of Georgia’s Men’s Swim Team, indefinitely.  This Harlem Shake video has over 37 MILLION views on YouTube; something’s you can never live down.


Lifeguard Style (Gangnam Style Remake)

In September of 2012, 13 lifeguards and their supervisor we fired by the City of El Monte, CA for making “Lifeguard Style,” a spoof of the popular PSY’s Gangnam Style .  The story made national news and eventually after petitions and unwanted publicity, the City re-hired their staff.






Honorable mention: Fanny Pack Sexy Back

They say mimicry is the ultimate form of flattery.  If that’s true, Justin Timberlake would be proud of these YMCA lifeguards.



NSF and UV – Changes throught the years

NSF (National Sanitation Foundation) was founded in 1944 to standardize sanitation and food safety requirements. Today, it has evolved into an accredited, independent third party certification body that tests and certifies products to verify that they meet public health and safety standards. The NSF is made up of many different divisions covering a wide range of topics, including the Water Division which covers swimming pools and spas.

Third party certification helps both the consumers as well as the manufacturers by reviewing certain processes and establishing standards and guidelines to ensure that a product complies with specific standards for safety, quality and performance. It makes for a level playing field for all parties involved.

In the swimming pool industry specifically, there have been many changes to local codes and national codes and standards over the years. In addition, new products are introduced daily claiming to be the “next best thing” for your pool. The NSF has modified itself to also keep up with these evolving codes and ever changing technologies that come to the market place.  All products should certainly be held to the standards of the NSF at a minimum.  If they pass the approval of NSF, they will proudly display that on their label.

Some of the major milestones that have affected UV systems in the swimming pool industry include:

NSF 2001: This called for disinfection efficacy for Enterococcus faecium and Pseudomonas aeruginosa.  At the time, it seemed appropriate for pools. But with chlorine based chemicals used as primary sanitizers, certain bugs became more and more chlorine resistant causing the NSF to change their standard.

NSF 2010: This increased the standard to include the inactivation of Cryptosporidium as well as the dose determination that is required to complete this process.  UV is based primarily on a dosing system, similar to that of the medical profession.  There is a certain dose of antibiotics that is needed for certain infections.  Just like a doctor carefully calculates the right medication and dosage to treat an illness, there is a specific science behind the dosing of UV.  A dose of 12 mJ/cm2 is needed to achieve a 3 log reduction of Crypto, but that same dose is ineffective against HIV for example.  So a standard had to be implemented by NSF for the UV systems.

NSF 2012: This standard took the UV a final step to include life testing, operating temperature, cleanability, design pressure, flowmeter, performance indication, operation and installation instructions, drawings and parts lists, disinfection efficacy, as well as valve and component identification.

As you can see by the changes in the NSF guidelines, there will certainly be more to follow in the coming years.  We as aquatics professionals need to be aware of these changes and keep our customers educated to the best of our ability.  The more we can educate our customers, the easier it will be to stay ahead of these changes.