CES Water Quality News Sharing Tips, Tech Support, New Trends, and technology updates !

10 Years of Commercial Saline - What Have We Learned?

 

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Commercial Saline Chlorination in Florida turned 10 years old this year, and we’ve been asked to reflect and compare notes on the positive and negative aspects of this controversial technology. Sure, residential saline chlorination has been around for many years prior 2006, and it has finally achieved continued success after failed product launches of past decades. But commercial installations, on the other hand, have until recently met with mixed success at best.

undefinedResidential cells - poor track record on commercial installations

In the eyes of many TRUE commercial saline wasn’t born the US until around 2006, when ChlorKing relocated to Atlanta from South Africa. Before that, commercial systems were made from individual residential cells – ganged together in a manifold. These early systems, as they are still configured today, have experienced an overwhelming percentage of failures. Not every one fails, but such a large percentage that the industry was never really able to gain traction.

CES joined forces with ChlorKing a few years after their US introduction, and have found great success in providing truly commercial installations. Sure, there have been quite a few bumps in the road, as with all technologies, (many say that it is the pioneers that get arrows in their backs), but we are proud to say that many of the issues over the years have been fully conquered, and there are proven solutions for many known maladies.

Here are a couple of observations:

undefinedUn-permitted, residential-grade system - removed after it failed

  • Many saline system installations were installed illegally.
    • Installing a saline system on a commercial pool constitutes a modification and as such requires pre-approval from Department of Health (DOH). Many systems we have found (and even replaced) were never registered, were illegal, and thus placed a huge liability on the facility. With CES, we register every new installation (and those re-do's that weren't already registered), as it is in the best long term interest of all involved. Thanks for your patience because it is often a drawn out administrative process.
  • Many saline installations can be self-funding:
    • In many installations, the saline system will pay its own way out of savings in labor, chemicals, liability, and maintenance. We now have the luxury of looking at 10 years of data, and seeing this pattern repeat itself over and over again. There are some times when pool or site-related hiccups have slowed down the payback, but these are part of the "process" described below. Overall, the track record has been great, and there has been little risk in going saline with CES, which CANNOT be said for Commercial Saline as a whole.

undefinedSelf-funding 50-lb system on leading municipal pool

  • Many customers get it right the 2nd time around:
    • CES has replaced hundreds of failed residential-type system that were installed on commercial pools. It appears that many of these clients KNEW they wanted saline, even though the first go-round wasn’t successful. Those that replaced with a true commercial system have enjoyed good success.
  • Buyers sometimes don’t check references:
    • Some condos and hotels made huge investments in saline systems that failed without first checking references. This probably led to some embarrassing moments for board members and managers. Checking references is a GOOD thing, and we invite customers to look around before investing in saline. It seems prudent not only to check recent installations, but to check with existing customers for long-time installation and to get a realistic idea of the type of long term care the system might require.

undefinedBonding, required by building codes prevents corrosion issues.

  • Pool Bonding is very important:
    • Pools are required to be connected to an equipotential bond by code. This helps prevent stray currents and mitigate bad electrical stuff including electrocution. Saline increases the conductivity levels in pools – about as much as using a bleach system – and can increase corrosion to un-bonded equipment such as ladders, rails, pool lights, etc. Properly bonded items have not been affected. So if your ladders and rails are not bonded, they will probably get damaged. This is easy to check prior to installation, but some sites had to get their electrician back on site to get the pool back up to code.
  • Saline and ORP controls can sometimes be incompatible:
    • Poorly bonded pools can have high stray currents, much higher that the National Electrical Code’s threshold of 200 mV. When adding saline on some poorly bonded (and illegal) pools, the normally rock-solid ORP system (which is controlling via mV signals) can get confused with all the new voltage interferences. This form of Russian Roulette happens about once every 50 pools and is almost impossible to predict – although older unbonded pools are in the high risk group. Fixing this issue becomes a science project for CES, but we are glad to report that we have slayed every dragon we have encountered so far, some by reducing the stray current, and others by finding a different method of controls. Good thing that CES’s affordable direct reading PPM sensor works great in the most severe cases.

undefinedCommercial applications require commercial sizing per DOH.

  • Crazy Expectations from owners:
    • Some owners were given unrealistic expectations from the start and the systems were doomed for failure. “… I know what your neighbor’s pool company told you Mr. Jones, but NO, a 2-lb residential system WON’T handle 100% of a busy commercial pool – when DOH requires 14.4 lbs as a stand alone.” After interviewing many hundreds of managers and pool companies on their experience with Saline, it’s no wonder why many systems fail when they are totally undersized, and the owners are given unrealistic expectations.
  • Saline is still Chlorine:
    • What do you do when a customer’s first words are: “We want to go saline because we don’t want to use Chlorine.” Saline Chlorination is similar to setting up a Chlorine Factory in your equipment room, so you’re just making chlorine, not buying and storing it. Education is the key with many potential saline customers that were being led down the wrong path.
  • Controlling Salinity is very important:
    • Keeping track of the pool water salinity is a lot more difficult than many thought it would be…. and much more critical than originally thought. If the pool water salinity is low, the system doesn’t make as much (or any) Chlorine, and the cells self-destruct from the inside out. Rain, backwash water replacement, and leaks all contribute to loss of salinity, and your poor maintenance team has a little chance of staying on top of the readings, adding bags of salt, and brushing until dissolved. That is why EVERY CES system comes with automatic salinity control.

undefinedCommercial grade cells simplify piping and installation.

  • Good cells are lasting 3-4 years on average:
    • We’re happy to report that while some cells last less, and some more, the average cell life has been just over 3 years or 15,000-hours. This is great especially compared that most residential cells were lasting 6-12 months according to their former owners. There are some items that increase cell run time (and decrease cell life), like chlorine demand and phosphates (more below), and unfortunately we can’t monitor these if we’re not on site periodically. Increasing cell stack life is one main reason we like to conduct annual PM services. 
  • Bad Site Power still can be detrimental:
    • Besides the periodic replacement of the reaction cell, the overall lifespan of the rest of the beefy electronic water cooled components has been as good as advertised. However, we have seen that bad site power, that wreaks havoc on pumps motors, VFD controls, etc. can occasionally have a bad effect on saline controls. Fortunately we now have the experience to predict sites where the power from the power company might be a problem, and to help the owner act more decisively before the power company beats the equipment into a state of disrepair.
  • Watch ALL water quality:
    • Some rookie pool companies have convinced customers that once they "go saline" that they don't need to monitor other water parameters. This is WRONG. A site must still maintain proper calcium and alkalinity levels and assure that the water is not scaling or corrosive, and it is also critical to take direct control of pH on a 24/7 basis. Finally, it is critical to monitor other sources of pool water pollution, such as phosphates, metals, and oils/organics as these can have an effect on overall water quality, and may affect your saline factory in various ways.

undefinedNew water introduces minerals that slow down chlorine production.

  • Chlorine Demand is a huge enemy of saline:
    • Whenever water quality deteriorates, even for a day or two, it lowers the rate of oxidation (and ORP). The saline system will run longer to provide chlorine that will just be absorbed by the demand, not allowing the water to achieve a chlorine "residual". This longer run time means shorter cell life. BUT, if the site had been using regular chlorine (bleach or tablets) they would have been paying exponentially higher chlorine costs anyway so this really hasn't affected the economics of saline. The secret is to be able to react quickly when a "chlorine demand" situation affects your site. Fortunately we have the experience and the process to handle this quickly.

Conclusion:

What have we learned over the first 10 years? Saline is awesome, and customers seem to love it both in the beginning, and even 10 years later It will last many many years with relatively minor maintenance, but periodic review and maintenance is KEY to preventing premature cell loss. Saline may be blamed for some pool maladies like corrosion etc. but pools that are built and operated legally have few issues. Saline is not for everyone, but it has been used in many hundreds of varied situations with great results so really anyone can use it.

But proper use of saline is a process. It's not really complicated or difficult, but it's a process. It is many times tougher for CES, but easier for the customer, and as long as there is great communication, there are great successes.

Finally, as with all technologies, there are going to be issues. While many technologies fizzled out in a few years under the weight of these issues, we are happy to report that Commercial Saline is going strong in Florida and customers are visiting existing installations and deciding to Go Saline on their properties. We're glad to help, but we also know that behind some new installations lie new challenges and we are ready to continue to identify and resolve.

There is little risk with going Saline as long as you follow the time-tested CES process, and we're ready to assist when you're ready to jump into the world of self-funding mineral pools.

 

 

Have a "Rio Moment" and lost your Pool ? Probable causes and solutions!


Most people that watched the Rio Olympic diving events couldn’t believe how the dive pool turned green and murky. They also marveled at how the water quality failed to recover for days. What could have happened? and how can we avoid this kind of catastrophe in our facility pools? 

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It was an embarrassing mess, wasn't it.… especially with the whole world watching, and with 4 years to prepare for the event.

Most alarming were the series of lame excuses that were provided while little progress was made. Some of the internet favorites were:

  • Pool was green due to heat and “lack of wind”. Honestly?
  • "Chemistry is not an Exact Science"
  • Pool was green due to the "Proliferation of algae"
  • "pH was thrown off by the large number of people using the pool"
  • Events were cancelled because: Water must be "still so it can return to its blue color".

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While Karma dictates that you don’t ever want to make light of other people’s bad fortune, we need to understand and learn from this type of mess-up.

What Happened?:

There are three major causes of murky or green water, namely metals, poor filtration, and poor oxidation. Here’s a quick look of the typical cause and solution for each of these.

 undefinedSister Pool started turning color as well.

Metals:

Problem:

Swimming pools are very susceptible to metals build up. Why? While all pools continually receive metals from the city water supply, they accumulate faster in pools due to higher evaporation. When water evaporates, pure (or distilled) water escapes, leaving behind all the minerals, metals, salt, etc… and when new water is introduced, the new metals ADD to the total metal count.  BUT, metals will tend to stay invisible (or "in solution"), even at fairly high levels, and you need an “triggering event”, normally high pH, to drop them out in the water – turning the pool green (either clear or murky). Restoring the correct pH will prevent additional metals from dropping out, but will not put the copper "in solution" (invisible) again, and you will need a way to remove the “dropped out” metals from the water – and some filters just can’t do the job.

Solution:

Test your metals monthly using a Palintest9 test kit or equivalent, and dump water (different than evaporation) to keep the water from getting too overstuffed with minerals and metals. You should also use a sequestering agent such us Jack’s Magic or Metal & Stain Inhibitor (MSI) to keep metals in solution and to drop them out gradually through the filter. If you have a “Rio” event, you can first drop the pH and then use a filter aid or special copper-removal chemical to drop copper through the filter fast.

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Poor Filtration:

Problem:

Poor Filtration continually puts you at the edge of disaster, and once you have an event, it becomes very difficult to recover. With poor filtration the filter might seem "lethargic" in being able to maintain or restore clarity. In fact, one of the differences between poor oxidation and poor filtration in cloudy water, is that poor filtration can help the condition linger for many days or even weeks, where cloudiness from poor oxidation can be cured by a simple overnight shock. Also, even the best filter can fall into disrepair over time if proper preventive maintenance is not provided periodically.

Solution:

Install a filter that is capable of providing the desired water quality initially, and keep pace with required maintenance on an annual basis. In case of a filtration event, you can use a “blue-type” clarifier, or you can pre-coat the existing filter (regardless of type) with a small amount of cellulose wood fiber such as Jack’s Magic Fiber Stuff™ or similar. The clarifier or wood fiber will enhance the filtration temporarily, but you need to resolve the underlying issue before it becomes as bigger problem. Also CES stocks special chemicals designed to remove copper from pool water through the filter media, so we can assist if you ever are confronted with this type of issue. 

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Poor Oxidation:

Problem:

Poor Oxidation, as evidence by low ORP, and displayed in cloudy or lifeless water can happen quickly during a lapse, or can happen as a small deficiency over a long period of time. If your oxidation rate (ORP) is low, organics and other stuff will accumulate in the pool water. The residual of bad stuff (AKA Chlorine Demand) could reach 50-100 PPM, so it is immune to most treatments or shocks. You can’t really see this stuff, nor can’t easily test for or anticipate it, but eventually you will have a very “sick” pool that can turn on you very quickly, and can be very difficult to correct. Also a sick pool can gobble up exponential amounts of chlorine to generate the same ORP or Chlorine residual.

High pH will also cause the ORP to drop, potentially causing the reported "algae" bloom, but algae blooms seldom produce that clear of a green-colored water. High pH, as Rio reportedly ran out of pH chemical, would also have caused the green metal to drop out (see above).

Also it was reported that someone introduced a large amount of hydrogen peroxide into the pool water as a treatment. Big Mistake. The "adverse reaction" reported by NBC and others is that it will effectively not only dechlorinate the pool, but will form a chlorine deficit that will chew up most of the chlorine you add to the pool for hours or days. Yikes.

Solution:

Since a shock that doesn’t reach the Chlorine Demand threshold is worthless, traditional treatments have limited benefits. A CES Peroxolyte shock will bring the pool to a high ORP, burn up the bad stuff, and return to normal within a few hours, making it a magic “drug” for most types of cloudy water ailments. However, the strategy is to prevent this from occurring in the first place by monitoring your Chlorine and ORP levels daily, and paying careful attention to the relationship between the two. The higher the ORP the better (750mV and up is good and 800mV & up is much better), but anything less than 700 mV is considered sick, especially if it takes more than 2.0 PPM to get there.

Another solution is to always have an acceptable amount of chemicals on hand -- especially if you are hosting the Olympics. This would like you running out of ice at your home reception party when your child get married. 

A 3rd solution is to prevent poor oxidation is to prevent rookies from throwing anything in your pool water without checking with you first. This happens all the time, and could happen just as easily in your home pool, municipal pool or condo.

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Conclusion:

The three categories above have traditionally accounted for most of the “losing your pool” events, although many times the issues are layered. So in the Rio example, they might have had a high metal count (no pun intended) going into the games, then let the pH go high, thus triggering a dropping out of copper and the clear green look. Once they de-chlorinated as a byproduct of their Hydrogen Peroxide treatment, the ORP could have plummeted and offered little chance of oxidizing the pool back to the normal color. The water could then have continued to deteriorate turning into the murky green. They also didn't implement any action to remove the green color through filtration, and they reportedly were changing out the media in the filters. Finally, they ended up (reportedly) dumping 1 million gallons and exchanging it with the outdoor water polo pool. Too little too late.

In any event, a more conscientious or a better-prepared operator could have seen the warning signs and could have avoided this entire mess. They would have had adequate chemical on hand for the event, and could have had both the treatment and filtration systems from these 2007 pools in better condition with preventive maintenance. They also could have responded with a more suitable "action" once the issue took place. 

By comparison, the (13) Myrtha Pools  installed specifically for the Olympics we clear and blue. They had good filtration systems, and were professionally operated during the entire swimming competition.

We're NOT trying to be critical of the operators, but the operations were apparently flawed. Then again, this type of public foopah validates why so many CES customers invest heavily in education for their staff, and establish vital checks and balances in their daily action plans. On a final note, in the case of an event many customers have learned to be very careful with what they say, as lame excuses may end up as a lightning rod for criticism, from a condo board... or in this case from the internet. 

Hope this helped, and please let us know if we can ever be of assistance.

New Florida DOH Code went into effect July 20th, What's New !!

 

For well over 30 years, the Florida Department of Health (DOH) has continually tweaked their 64E-9 Health Code to keep pace with the changing times, and to help provide the safest possible environment for patron and operators alike. By memory, the most dramatic code changes occurred in 1983, 1998, 2004 with tweaks in 2006, 2009, 2012, etc. This 2016 code revision was different altogether, and was initiated after there was an attempt to remove DOH's inspection authority -- a sure disaster for Fla's stellar safety record.

This also was the most collaborative effort ever, with the Florida Public Swimming Pool Coalition being an integral part of the process. The Coalition is made up of members from: the DOH, (BOAF) Building Officials of Florida, and members from the two leading industry groups.... (UPSA) United Pool and Spa Association, and (FSPA) Florida Spa & Pool Association. Let's focus on the pool inspections, as they are the focal point of our relationship with DOH.

What remains the same:

  • The pool inspections are still twice a year, and are carried out by the same DOH inspectors as before,
  • You cannot operate a pool without a valid operating permit,
  • DOH has the authority to close your pool to the public until items are corrected,
  • You must alert DOH when a violation has been abated (corrected), and cannot open until re-inspection occurs.
  • There is a full, updated copy of 64E-9 available for your review.

undefinedSelf inspection has become a valuable tool

What is different.

1. Inspection Report in Two Groups: The 49  items on the NEW DOH Form 920 inspection report remain relatively the same, but they are in two groups. 

The Bolded items include DOH-Centered water chemistry and deck and safety items, including:

  • Water Clarity, Algae Control, Deck/Walkways, Tile Pool Finish
  • Suction Outlets, Lighting, Pool Covers
  • Life Hooks, Life Rings, Safety Lines, Rules Posted
  • Test Kits, Proper Chemical readings, ORP Control Systems on Spas,
  • Water Level Controls, Chemical Feeders, Pumps & Filters, Flow Meters, Thermometers, Gauges, 
  • Chemical Logs, Maintenance Logs, Inspection Posted, etc.

undefinedInoperative Auto-Fill can close your pool !

The Un-Bolded items are still to be inspected by DOH inspectors, and violations will be marked on the form, but will be reported to the local building official. Depending on the severity of these, the DOH may close the pool or rescind the operating permit. Note that these are mostly construction items as required by the Florida Building Code (FBC). These include:

  • Depth Markers, Handrails/Ladders, Step Markings
  • Gutter Grates, No Dive Markings, Diving Boards
  • Pool Side Shower, Chemical Container Labels, 
  • Vacuum Cleaners, DE Separators, Gas Chlorine Equipment, Waste Water,
  • Equipment changes (without prior approval or engineering), Fences/Gates

undefinedIllegal Saline Installation is a LEGAL nightmare !

2. Items Separated into TYPES

  • Type A: DOH and FBC Violations requiring immediate closure until abated. Operator must notify DOH by phone text, email or fax when corrected, should be reinspected by DOH as necessary. Examples of these include:
    • Water Clarity insufficient to see drain, unsafe wet deck, 
    • Three or more depth markers (or "No Diving Markers") missing or illegible
    • Suction outlet (drain cover) non-compliant, or missing/damaged skimmer cover
    • Night Swimming allowed without sufficient lighting
    • Low Chlorine, improper pH, or missing feeder equipment
    • Pump or filter equipment missing or inoperable
  • Type B: Violations requiring abatement within 7 days. Operator must notify DOH when corrected, may be reinspected by DOH at any time. Examples include:
    • Pool water level lower than gutter or skimmer
    • Thermometer on Heated Pool or Spa inoperable or missing.
  • Type C: Violations Requiring abatement within 30 days. Operator must notify DOH when corrected, may be reinspected by DOH at any time. Examples include:
    • Pool appearance (significant debris, scum, or biological growth/algae)
    • Pool or spa pool rules sign not visible or missing
    • Test Kit or Reagent unavailable
    • Cyanuric acid >100 PPM in Pools, or >40 PPM in Spas
    • Required ORP/pH, or water level controller missing or inoperative
    • Flowmeters, gauges, or feeders missing or inoperable
    • Filtration flow rate not within +/- 20%
    • Chemicals Stored in Pump Room
  • Type D: All other DOH violations to be abated by the next routine inspection
  • Type E: FBC Violations to be corrected by July 1 in order to sustain DOH operation permit.

undefinedNew Code Protects you and your patrons !

Pretty interesting, Huh?

What questions are surrounding this transition? Some owners and contractors have expressed their opinions, but with some of these only time will tell ?

  • Will the DOH inspector be more likely to turn in a customer for failed FBC items than they were to close the pool themselves ?
  • How will the hand off between DOH reporting and FBC inspection go?
  • Will the Local building officials even reply to the reports ? We're confident, but some contractors are very skeptical.
  • What is worst, the fact that DOH can close your pool with these violations, or the fact that given this written legal guideline...that any violation can literally make you liable in the event of any issue (you don't really think anyone will call an attorney, do you?)

 The bottom line is that a DOH inspector has the AUTHORITY to close your pool immediately for something as commonplace as missing chemical feeders, bad chemistry, algae, missing equipment, etc.

Conclusion:

Many feel that the legislative effort was made to dismantle or minimize the DOH authority, which would have been nothing less than a disaster for our wonderful safety record in Florida.

Thanks to an industry-wide effort, the reasonable authority of the DOH department to assure safety and well being of owners, operators and patrons has been protected. 

Thanks to all members of the Florida Public Swimming Pool Coalition including all DOH, BOAF, UPSA, and FSPA members for going out of their way, and spending countless hours of their own time.... to right a wrong.

Waterford Lakes New Pool Renovation a "home run" !

 

One look at Orlando's Waterford Lakes Community Association website says it all. It is clean, modern, organized, and provides timely information on past, present and future happenings... dating back to their incorporation in 1985.  

undefinedWaterford Pool is very popular with large bather loads. 

Waterford Lakes carried the same theme into the recent pool treatment renovation: clean, progressive, and organized, and it has vaulted the organization to one of the most modern, energy efficient operations in the state.

Before:

Is wasn't always that way. Waterford Lakes used to rely on the original Vacuum DE filtration system. Since the 108,000 gallon pool services 800 living units, the filtration system was originally upsized to handle 600 GPM or 3-hour turnover. To accomplish this the number of DE grids were doubled. The filters had to be cleaned manually several times a week under peak loads (sometimes more often) taking as long as 4-hours per cleaning. The filter grids requiring the use of temporary DE powder on each filter cleaning, along with the cumbersome DE removal and disposal process. The chemistry, although carefully scrutinized, suffered from the unavoidable peaks and valleys normally experienced with changing bathing loads, weather conditions, etc.

They had a smaller 6-lb per day saline system that was overmatched, and had to add countless bags of salt by hand, a thankless job. The chemistry controller was not fully trustworthy, handled only chemistry, and was not equipped with communications, log keeping or alert notification programs.

undefinedRenovation included pumps, filters, saline, controls, etc.

After:

In 2015, that all changed. During the renovation of their clubhouse, Ken Zook of Waterford Lakes called on Tony Caruso of TC Water Features of Orlando to find a better solution. Tony teamed up with Chris Secue from CES and Alex Fletcher from AquaWorx (a leading filter pack manufacturer) to provide a pre-plumbed modernization that would handle Waterford Lakes's needs for many years to come. The board of directors did their research, checked many references, and scheduled a public question and answer session to closely address every possible aspect of the investment. 

The new Green Modernization included:

Saline Chlorination System: The team installed a ChlorKing 25lb saline system (4-times larger than the original) designed to provide a majority of the annual chlorination needs. The system came equipped with automatic salinity control that keeps the salinity level in the pool at a perfect 5,000 PPM, without having to manually test and add/dissolve salt in the pool. The consistent salinity level perfects the "silky feel" of the pool water, while assuring maximum chlorine production.

undefinedIndustrial Saline System 4 times larger than previous system.

All-in-one Redundant feeder: A Pulsar 140 is seamlessly integrated to provide redundant chlorination in the event that the pool usage or weather exceeds saline system capability. The Pulsar System is a dry tablet that retains if full strength for up to 2 years, and provides Chlorine, Calcium, Bicarbonate, and supplemental stain prevention, while utilizing 1/10th the pH correction of a bleach system. It's a perfect complement to the dominant saline system.

undefined3 min single-lever on-the-fly backwash saves labor & water.

Permanent Media Filtration System: The CES two-tank permanent media filtration system replaced the DE grid system, and provides crystal clear pool water without all the manual cleaning and DE powder handling and disposal. The periodic backwash is handled by throwing a single lever (some call it the one-armed bandit) for 2-3 minutes for each tank. Water consumption is held at bare minimum and thought to be less than before. The maintenance staff has freed up considerable labor hours instead of doing hand to hand combat with some silly grid filter in the hot sun. 

CES Motor Control Center with integrated VFD and energy efficient pumping system: This device connects to the BECSys5 and provides precise direct control of 600 GPM DOH flow rate, while continually minimizing electrical power. It is equipped with phase protection, power conditioning, and a safety bypass to minimize any potential down time. Clean filter electric consumption can be as low a 30% of normal power, thus providing a quick payback from electrical rates and demand charges. A new 3-phase self priming pump prevents time-wasting re-priming, and the oversized basket saves time cleaning the strainer.

undefinedMCC reduces power, demand charges, and costs.

CES Equipment Room Control system: As the centralized controls for the modernization, a BECSys5 system was installed to control the saline system, the pH feeder, the redundant feeder, and take direct control of the pool pump operations while monitoring pool temperature and filter cleanliness. It is equipped with 24/7 digital record keeping to provide the safest pool environment for patrons and guests, and the remote control and alert notification system texts and emails the operations staff (in proper order) in the event that any parameter falls outside of the desire range.

Monitoring flat screen TV. Talk about confidence and communications.... all of the vital signs of the pool including Chlorine, ORP, pH, Temperature, Flow, Pressure, Vacuum, etc. are continually displayed on a flat screen TV.... in the clubhouse ! 

undefinedConfidence is displaying your pool vital signs 24/7 in the clubhouse.

What about the feedback?

  • Needless to say, the maintenance staff was reported to be "giddy" about the modernization. You would be too !
  • Ken's recent note to CES he mentioned: "... thanks Chris for everything, and Waterford and I are very happy with our products and support. Glad you are part of the team!"
  • An undisclosed operations manager told our team that "...it was the best thing we're ever done (in 30 years)"
  • The finance manager has to be happy as the conversion is substantially self-funding via from savings in electricity, labor, water and DE powder and savings, and from savings from making their own Chlorine on site.

Conclusion:

Waterford Lakes has once again demonstrated that it is very possible to completely modernize an aquatic treatment mechanical package by picking the right team, doing their homework, and following the project through from start to finish. Congratulations go Ken and Waterford Lakes for taking a leadership position in the industry, for Going Green and saving power, water, chemicals, and labor, and for making a commitment to provide their patrons and guests with the safest most appealing water possible.

Also kudos to Tony Caruso and AquaWorx for a fantastic installation, and to the entire Waterford Lakes team for being a dream to work with.

But then again, what do you expect from an association with a 30-year history of a clean, modern, and communicative operations led by forward thinking managers......

Low Chlorine & Bacteria in 80% of pools ?? Nope, we're Standing Up for the GOOD Pool Operations !

 

Hold on just one second !

Over the past few weeks we have all been barraged by the CDC study, local news coverage of the CDC study, and generally a "Sky is Falling" attitude that indicates that ALL pools stink. Our May 25th post looked at a couple of ways that CES operators can assure that they are under control in-house. But that was not enough!!

Quite frankly, we tired of all the negative press, and feel the need to reply.

We want to stand up for thousands of all the fantastic Municipalities, Water Parks, Hotels, Condos, and Specialty Pools (Swim Schools, Therapeutic Pools, etc) that go above and beyond every single day, to avoid low chlorine, to prevent bacteria, and to make their organizations bullet-proof so that they don't have bad days.

- We monitor their pools 24/7... we KNOW they don't stray from the legal limits. 

- If they have a bad moment, with flow, chemistry, OR filtration... it is only literally for a few moments, and they identify within moments and correct. We know, because we get the same alarms they do, and watch them fix them right away.

- We test their water periodically, they don't have positive bacteria readings, ever !! 

So, what are their "tricks of the trade"? Let us paint a picture of a successful operation and the handful of things that they normally have in common.

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  • Keep logs:
    • The successful operation keeps detailed daily chemistry and vital signs logs. Why? Well first it's the law, and as such, if there is any trouble, log-keeping is the first thing the attorneys seem to fixate on, and draw their opinion if your organization is going to be easy prey.
      • Quick tip: Even minor issues can become big ones if you can't prove you are running the pool per the law. Don't have a good log sheet program, your CES rep can provide you with the proper forms that should be filled out and kept.
      • Fact: ALL top notch, bulletproof organizations keep good logs.

undefinedPM helps this pool system run silky smooth.

  • Think ahead:
    • Most successful organizations lay out an annual plan and work the plan... just like any successful business. They generally don't "wait for things to break" and then yell and abuse their vendors to cover up their mess.
      • If you don't have a master plan, don't worry, your CES rep can help.
      • Lay out a plan of what equipment should be serviced when... for example, heaters should be serviced just before heating season, filters and chlorinators before summer, etc.

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  • Stay Connected 24/7:
    • Many leading organization have 24/7 control over their mechanical rooms. Imagine the control you have over your destiny if your key people are alerted every time a major parameter is ABOUT to go out of range. An empty acid vat can cause a green pool a few hours later, but a simple alert, can focus your operators to remove little issues before they become big ones.
      • Monitoring programs give you digital minute by minute logs for best protection.
      • CES monitoring programs have no monthly fees, and the info is in real-time, not yesterday's or last week's readings.

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  • Check & Balances:
    • Funny, the best organizations have the highest percentage of monthly PM programs. So, the ones than run a really tight ship want a 2nd set of eyes on it every month? Well, we learned that redundancy and checks and balances makes the difference between a 3-Star and a 4 or 5-Star establishment, so even if you invested in the best operators or the most expensive pool service (which most don't) a 2nd set of eyes is sometimes priceless.
      • Quick tip: A periodic CES PMA977 50-Point site assessment, either monthly, quarterly, semi-annually or annually, can help keep the ship on course, and the costs only $150 per visit.

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  • Spend a Little, Save a lot:
    • The better organizations keep a few inexpensive parts laying around, and they seamlessly handle small emergencies, with parts and training from CES. Did you also know that spending a few dollars controlling your stabilizer and phosphate levels can save you thousands a year in chlorination costs!!
      • The popular CES online store is helping customers keep the hard-to-find, valuable parts on hand. We now can pre-load your personal MyCES™ page with ONLY the parts and pieces necessary to keep your facility humming along.
      • Your CES rep can help you set up your spare parts program with the lowest investment. 

Conclusion:

A very famous, wise CES customer once told us many years ago... Sonny (he said), either you can run a pool, or it will run you.... and there's a big difference between the two.

So, here's a big hand of applause to all the terrific organizations that we have the pleasure of serving over the past 33 years. Let's not let the sensationalist media tell you that it is unsafe to visit the local water park or swim in the neighborhood pool. Many times it's not.

But do your research and make sure that your favorite swimming hole has it together. 

If they are on an E-Based CES program or have a Q5® logo in their equipment room or lobby.... then you can rest assured that the facility is safe.... because the slightest slip up will be corrected -- quickly and professionally.

New CDC report - 80% of pools & spas are unsafe. 5 Easy steps assure you and your patrons are safe !!

 

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recently reported, in their Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, that there are severe risks in swimming in public pools. Really? In 2013, data was collected from 5 states with the most public pools and spas (Arizona, California, Florida, New York, and Texas), and the data was compiled.

They reviewed 84,187 routine inspections of 48,632 public venues, and they found the following:

  • Almost 80% of public aquatic venue inspections uncovered at least one violation
  • 1 in 8 inspections resulted in immediate closure because of serious health and safety violations
  • 1 in 5 kiddie/wading pools were closed - the highest proportion of closures among all venues.
  • The most common violations included
    • improper pH (15%)
    • safety equipment (13%)
    • improper disinfectant concentration (12%)

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What gives? By comparison thousands of CES customer received ZERO serious violations and no closures in the past few years.

So what does the CDC suggest?

  • For your patrons to second-guess your operators but carrying a chemical test strip into the pool water with them,
  • For patron to verify the ability to see the main drain in the bottom of the pool. Note to manager: If you can't see the drain, ever, close the pool and get a better strategy right away!
  • For patrons to  double check your VGB drain covers, safety procedures, etc.

So we have a choice. Do you really want John and Mary Q Public looking over your shoulder, testing your water, and telling you how to run your pool? Probably not.

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What is the alternative?

What is the alternative? One CES customer jokingly suggested that all the lousy pools were located elsewhere in the US, and they could use CES's affordable treatment and training programs..... but seriously.... 

The alternative, according to many CES customers, is to demonstrate that you operate your pools and spas to a higher standard.

Here are 5 Easy ways to assure that your pools stay out of the (wrong type of) limelight.

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Number One: Train Your Staff

Think about it. If the training hand-off between your previous pool operator and your current one went something like ..... Good Luck, Joe !!, then you might be in trouble. Don't assume that hiring an "experienced" pool operator mean that they are actually "proficient" or even "qualified". The DOH requires that a pool operator be certified, although there are loopholes in the requirement. However, loopholes lose to lawsuits every day of the week. 

It is a simple fact that a trained operator makes better decisions and are better organized and better equipped to manage your aquatic operations. Also, think that outsourcing to a pool service is cheaper or better.... think again.

Action item #1: Check out AFO, CPO, or AquaTech Certification classes. While many classes are not offered during the summer months, the CES Hybrid Aquatech classes operate year-round and combine an interactive on-line learning program with a full day of hands-on training. You can also sign up for CES's on-site training sessions that covers all equipment and procedures.

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Number Two: Take Control

Two powerful words that say it all. Taking Control of your pool operation is inexpensive, immediate, and highly successful. There is NO risk. You can sign up for direct-control chemistry program with electronic log keeping, remote control, and alert notification for only $106 per month. It comes with tons of training and technical support, and the communications is free. What are you waiting for?

Action item #2: Walk through your equipment rooms, and if your control systems a) aren't controlling real well, b) don't provide "open architecture remote communications" then we can help you take control quickly and painlessly. 

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Number Three: Check it out yourself

Some of CES's most successful managers will tell you that they walk their aquatic operation, interview the patrons and staff, and check the documentation on an on-going basis. Sure.... the pool looks great from the manager's  office, but when is the last time you were in the dirty, sweaty, and poorly run pump room, or checked out your dirty, greasy, hazy pool. Would your have your lobby or kitchen look that way? Probably not.

 Managers tell us that they interview their staff and see if they like the answers they get. Check for cloudy water, dirty tiles, wet equipment rooms, or gerry-rigged equipment. 

Action item #3: Many managers make a special checklist with appearance, safety, and operational issues. They walk the pool area with a clipboard just before payday, and write down deficiencies. Yikes! Special Tip: Check your chemical log sheets. They should be completely filled out, detailed, and should reflect safe and code-approved water. See what you like? Remember, that is the same document that the opposing attorney would use against you.

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Number Four: Be Proactive

Many operators simply wait for things to break, and then complain about how expensive it is to fix, and how long it takes for manufacturers and service centers to respond. Really? So you can lay idly and let everything degrade, and that's OK, but once the equipment dies, then everyone else need to be ready to cover your mess. Well that sounds good, but that is not really realistic. The better operations in Florida schedule proactive service on major equipment (Heaters, Pumps, Filters, Chlorinators, UV/Ozone Systems, Saline, etc) and hardly EVER have down time. It's a fact this it is much less expensive to maintain equipment than to replace it.

Action item #4: Make a master list of all equipment that would benefit from proactive service, and we can assist you in making it much more affordable that REACTIVE service.

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Number Five: Operate your pool to a higher standard.

What?

Ask yourself one question.... to what standard to your operate your pool? If the answer is Health Department (DOH). Then remember that DOH codes are set to a MINIMUM standard and do NOT address items such as maintenance, proactive service, checks and balances, redundancy, anticipation, advanced water quality procedures, etc. 

If you operate your pool to a "higher standard" such as the Q5® Water Quality Standard, then your DOH-approved pool might only rate as a 2.5 Star facility on a 5-Star Scale. Is that good enough for your organization? Do your clients deserve better?

The Q5® Water Quality Standard is also prescriptive, and help provide you with a roadmap to get from where you're at, to where you want to be using a series of achievable improvements that can be spread across several years and several budgets.

 

Conclusion:

With a little helping hand, you can help monitor and control your pool operations to keep you and your customers out of harm's way. From simple and inexpensive training and supervision, to more costly and involved equipment upgrades, one thing is for sure: Either you prove to the world that you "have it under control", or you may be hosting a legion of motivated but untrained test kit-carrying patrons that are dying to tell you how to run your pool.

Your call. 

CES is ready to assist you in any manner, from training, service, and support....to new treatment programs or PM services.... to even setting you up on a Q5® program. Please contact your CES rep, or sign up for an on-site audit to see where you stand.

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