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National Spotlight on Crypto - What Can you do to protect yourself.

  

Quick, name the largest documented Crypto outbreak in US History.

It was the Milwaukee (drinking water) outbreak of 1993. There were over 400,000 people affected (25% of Milwaukee's population). Sadly 69 people lost their lives (they had weakened immune systems per Milwaukee DOH), and many others became severely ill and/or had their immune systems compromised as a result of the parasite.

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What about pools? In 2007 a large outbreak in Utah affected over 1,000 patrons over a two month period. While it originated in a few main pools, it quickly spread to other pools and sections of the state. Subsequent outbreaks in Ohio, Florida, Arizona, Georgia, and other states affected hundreds of unsuspecting patrons who were out for a good time.

While many of us have always been aware of the dangers of Crypto it seems like ALL of America is fully aware now, thanks to a recent media blitz by The Sun Sentinal, USA Today, CNN, Good Morning America and just about every newspaper and TV station in the land. 

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Why the sudden attention? It turns out the the Centers for Disease Control released a May report that the number of "outbreaks" had doubled between 2014 and 2016. That's doubled! Outbreaks doesn't mean number of people affected, it means a regional event where people are infected in a pool, go to another facility and spread the parasite. This process is assisted because it takes up to 2-weeks for the symptoms to show up, allowing plenty of time for spread of disease.

Each outbreak can have far reaching effects. Arizona brass identified 352 people sick with Crypto for July-October 2016 (a 460% increase over any one YEAR in their history), while Ohio identified 1,940 cases (a 240% increase over any one year in 2012-2015). This is not trending correctly, as the CDC and many Health Departments are working hard to REDUCE the number of outbreaks.

What the CDC notes as the "Best Way to Protect Yourself" as a bather or parent.....

  • Don’t swim or let your kids swim if sick with diarrhea.
    • If diarrhea is caused by Crypto, wait until two weeks after diarrhea has stopped to go swimming.
  • Don’t swallow the water in which you swim.
  • Rinse off in the shower before getting in the water to help remove any germs on your body that could contaminate the water.
  • Take kids on bathroom breaks often, and check diapers in a diaper-changing area and not right next to the pool. 

But what about protecting yourself as an owner or operator of a pool?

Here are a few guidelines as established by CES and customer experiences, or from industry best practices.

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  • Take Control: Many CES customers have found it most important to take direct control over all the major parameters that could affect bather welfare and safety. Chemistry control is an obvious starting point and is a delicate minute-by-minute balance that changes with each bather, each click of the chemical feeder, and each unintended discharge of from human skin and organs. Manual introduction of chemicals, a fixed rate feed system, found in many facilities, or a 3-day a week pool service contract cannot possibly keep pace with the demands.
    • Solution: Any of the affordable CES programs, starting at $69 per month, provides precise and reliable second by second control of all major water parameters so that you can be assured that the water is safe and code compliant.

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  • Stay Connected: Daily or periodic mechanical room supervision is a key component of pool operation, but it is not enough to protect the owner against mechanical mishaps that may cause the facility to stray out of compliance. Leading facilities have gravitated toward staying continually connected to their mechanical systems using CES’s Open Architecture Communications (OAC). It provides continual monitoring of all major mechanical parameters, permanent storage of pool readings, and a powerful alert notification program for any out-of-range parameter, so that the operators can resolve problems before they becomes a big customer satisfaction or liability issue. Low chlorine levels, left unchecked can cause unhealthy water, but can be quickly and easily resolved with OAC. Many CES operators stay in touch via email and text messages using smart phone app, tablets, or PC connections.
    • Solution: CES’s no-cost monitoring programs are available on all control systems that have been installed since 2006 and while first viewed as a "nicety", it has evolved into an important cornerstone to a responsible pool operation, and has proven to help resolve countless issues over the past 12 years.

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  • Circulation and Drinking Water Filtration: At the heart of every successful pool application is a properly sized and balanced circulation and filtration system that can filter up to drinking water–grade specifications and that turns over the water in relation to the bathing load. The suction and discharge piping, distribution system, filter manifold and internals, and backwash systems are carefully engineered on a project-by-project basis.
    • Solution: The proper acceleration of filtration rates is a standard feature in all CES-designed mechanical packages, often being maximized to the limits of the underground piping. Sizing is based on estimated (current and future) bathers per week, and this CES formula has experienced an 100% success rate over the past 30 years.

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  • UV or advanced oxidation treatment: Chlorine is a key component of any code-approved treatment package, but is quite limited in oxidation power. It cannot carry the full load of the tremendous oxidation requirements of a busy facility, and cannot provide relief against skin irritation and crypto issues. CES implements a wide array of advanced oxidation technologies, which are custom-designed for each swim school application. These can consist of ozone, UV, Amalgam UV, Saline, Peroxolytes, and other solutions.
    • Solution: A properly sized medium pressure UV system is EPA-validated to inactivate 99.9% of all Crypto in a single pass. Does it absolutely prevent a sick person from infecting others in your pool? No! But it is a proactive strategy that provides a strong layer of protection by continually inactivating Crypto and other pathogens, in the full recirculation flow, every minute of every day. It is supported by CES service techs, and requires only periodic on-site maintenance. 

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  • Follow new CDC guidelines: New 2016 CDC guidelines for treatment of fecal releases helped shine new light on a what was already the best practice for Florida-based operators -- where DOH mandated compliance to CDC guidelines years ago. What's new from CDC? For starters, the new guidelines recommend a maximum stabilizer level of 15 PPM - about 1/6th of the typical stabilizer level for many residential/commercial pool service companies. Why the low (15 PPM) level? CDC research uncovered that at higher levels, it would take many days of high (20+ PPM) treatment to properly (if at all) deactivate Crypto.  

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  • Other Measures:
    • New CRS™ additive targets Crypto: The popular Pulsar System, already the largest solid chlorination system in the industry, added a new wrinkle when it introduced the CRS (Crypto Remediation System). This is a filtration-based treatment that is an integral part of the new Pulsar 45, 140 and 500 feeder systems. It automatically doses a proven Crypto-capturing filter aid after each backwash, to put the filter in a 24/7 Crypto-capturing mode. In the event of a Crypto accident, the operator merely presses the "Code Brown" button on the controller face panel, and the system follows a proven regimen to help filter out the crypto remaining in the pool. Please contact us for more info on this great package.
    • Enduro keep your bottom clean: The Enduro-TurboClean robotic vacuum is gaining National attention as a reliable and powerful pool cleaning system that NEVER really leaves the pool deck. Why? All repairs, maintenance, and adjustments are made on the pool deck, so it's always on duty. But recent studies from overseas indicate that the Enduro does much more than keep your bottom clean, Danish studies show a significant removal of stubborn biofilm not captured with manual vacuuming or normal brushing. This means less bacteria and less chance of the harboring of bacteria and diseases. Is it proven to kill Crypto (heck no), but it is just another proactive step to help keep your pool operation running at peak performance. Every bit helps.

 Conclusion:

All the media hoopla on Crypto will surely fade away in the near future, but the importance of developing a winning strategy to bulletproof your facility against this potential liability should not. 

While water could look clear, inviting, and relatively harmless, it could possibly contain a host of dangerous bacteria and pathogens that can make a whole lot of people sick.... or even kill them. The added scrutiny of Crypto and other dangerous pathogens hopefully will shine a bright light on the need for facilities to invest in bather safety.

For years pool owners and operators have invested in fancy landscaping, a nice bar & restaurant, and nice deck chairs while many shunned investing in their antiquated mechanical systems. Soon adherence to the new MAHC (Model Aquatic Health Code) will encourage pool owners to update all "critical water" (including wading pools, IWF's, plunge pools, spas, and kiddie pools) with UV sterilization, and other proactive treatment devices, in order to provide better protection for their patrons and single pass inactivation of Crypto. Other facilities are adding UV on a proactive basis to help them protect their staff and patrons against the spread of disease "on their watch".

In any event, customers can follow each others' great examples by providing enhanced training, CDC protocol compliance, and eventual equipment upgrades in order to help stay out of the limelight. 

Subconsciously many might want to become famous.... just not as the owner/operator of the epicenter of a large Crypto outbreak.

Top Trends of 2014, what's new for 2015?

 

2014 will be remembered as a pretty crazy year filled with many peaks and valleys, but in the aquatics industry several major trends developed momentum. Here's a quick look at the top aquatic water quality trends for 2014.

Note: Some folks confuse a trend with a fad. They are very different. There have been a lot of fads come and go over the years in the commercial marketplace (remember magnets, floating chemical frogs, Hydrolyzers, ECS treatment, hydrogen peroxide, etc.), yet only a few solid, long term trends have continued to flourish. It takes lots of in-field testing, discipline, and even more research to avoid silly fads over the years....so hats off to the real trends of 2014.

Self-funding energy modernizations:

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 During 2014, many major aquatic operations completed substantial self-funding energy modernizations. These are defined as mechanical improvements that save more money (in energy, labor, chemicals, water, and liability) on a monthly basis, than the monthly COST of the modernization based on borrowed money. Thus they earn the CES designation of being self-funding. Examples of successful implementations include:

  • Control & pumping conversions that are operating on major pools at an average of 42-65% power,
  • Packaged pool heating & pool cover conversions using Geothermal or 97% efficient Aquas heaters,
  • Saline modernizations with either CES ChlorKing "Chlor" units (pool is turned saline) or Nex-Gen (makes chlorine out of pool water),
  • LED lighting conversions,
  • Hi-rate sand filtration conversion

Taking more internal control over aquatic operations:

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We are seeing a marked reversal of the trends of the last decade, where some pool owners literally "handed the keys" to their pool operations to pool service or chemical companies. This is good news! As corporate control of the pool (with selective subcontracting) has proven to provide the best results over the past 35 years. Corporate control means that the overall game plan, DOH compliance, DOH-required record keeping, and ADA/VGB/OSHA/DLES certifications are being spearheaded in-house. These items pose a high liability and high exposure for your organization, and cannot or should not be subcontracted. CES supports your in-house programs with on-site operating training and technical support, DOH-required operator certification, monthly site assessments, and affordable PM programs for any mechanical equipment.

Remote control & Communications:

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The technology that appeared to some as a optional gimmick when introduced in 1996 has emerged as the backbone of some of the biggest, smallest, highest profile, and lowest profile operations in Florida and the Caribbean. All you need is access to a local wifi signal or wired ethernet connection and you can seamlessly connect your equipment room via an ultra secure protocol.

Customers are able to monitor and/or control chemistry, pumping systems, filtration, water consumption, heaters, saline, UV, and more from their PC, tablet, or smart phone. They're also keeping continuous electronic records of pool vital signs for the ultimate in liability avoidance. Finally, managers and their staff are receiving programmable and scripted text and email alerts in the event any major mechanical parameter falls outside their acceptable parameters.

The feedback from customers has been terrific. The cost savings and liability avoidance savings are huge. There are no monthly communication fees, and CES offers award-winning Cyber support to help pinpoint and rapidly resolve previously-lingering nuances. If your IT department is too busy or hesitant to join the leading facilities in the region, then we can offer the PCD (Precision Communication Device) solution. This off-network wireless communications device, contracted on a temporary or permanent basis, is set up in minutes and funded via a nominal monthly access fee.

Monitoring, Controlling, and Saving Water -- Sensibly

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A growing trend over the past few years is to implement precise digital water level control, monitoring of auto-fill functions, and monitoring of overall water consumption on your pools and spas. These parameters can be monitored remotely, and when extreme water losses occur, your team will receive email and text alerts. So far these systems have uncovered several previously-undetected but severe leaks that would normally not have been discovered until a future multi-thousand dollar water bill is received. This feature is also a popular retrofit with existing BECSys5 and BECSys7 control systems. Our ultimate goal is to utilize only best practice use of water in pools and to avoid any excessive consumption.

Direct control of circulating pumps via MCC-VFD

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Taking direct control of the pump flow (in GPM) via your CES control system has become one of the more popular self funding modernizations with customers. On an large project with FPL collaboration, the customer is AVERAGING 42% of normal power by maintaining precise flow rate required by the DOH (Department of Health). Additional DOH-approved off-peak savings mode provides pumping cost of only 12.5% of normal power. The standard CES MCC-VFD package also includes phase protection, surge protection, and a integral bypass switch to help extend the life of your pool pumps. Systems range from 5 HP to 150 HP.

Many customers asked us for a CES VFD solution for inexpensive pumps of 5 HP or less. Earlier this year we introduced the Precision PFD (Precision Flow Device) that provides an industrial grade UL-listed VFD in a water tight cabinet. It takes direct control of GPM, and displays volts, amps, KW, and electrical faults (like its big brother), but is provided without some of the additional features meant to protect larger and more expensive motors. The PFD comes in 2, 3 and 5 HP configurations and converts single phase power to highly efficient 3-phase motors.

Making your own Chlorine on Site:

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Once considered a fad, there are many examples of poorly-installed saline "wall ornaments" in the field making saline more suspect than ever in the eyes of many. But, CES industrial grade saline modernizations are almost 10 years old and providing between 85-95% of our customers' annual chlorine needs depending on sizing and bathing load. These systems maintain the salinity level in the pool water and make chlorine on demand from that saline solution. Many of the installations have been self-funding, and the average life of the replacement electrodes have averaged over 3 years, or 3-6 times the life of some residential-grade electrodes. Many systems were installed as the customer wanted soft and silky pool water, so the extreme chemical savings have been a great bonus!

For sites that do not want to add salt to the pool water, the skid-mounted Nex-Gen system uses the same basic technology to manufacture chlorine out of pool water. It is basically a small pre-plumbed Chlorine factory on a skid.

Using better additives to control environmental pollution:

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No one wants to add a bunch of extra chemicals in their pools, but there are some problem solving chemicals that have gained tremendous popularity in treating certain difficult environmental conditions or "pollution". Here are a few:

  • Excessive bather waste, soaps & gels, and partially oxidized organics can cause ugly water line soiling and place a big burden on your chlorination system, raising your chlorination cost. A popular trend of using AAD (Amino Acid Digester) can help resolve these issues.
  • Copper and Iron deposits in relatively harmless levels enter into the pool from the fill line. Once there, they concentrate and achieve higher levels that may exceed EPA guidelines and can stain the pool or spa. The use of MSI (Metal & Scale Inhibitor) will help keep these levels under control.
  • Phosphates, also in trace amounts, are introduced into pool water from the fill line. These concentrate and reach higher levels that interfere with the chlorination and elevate consumption tremendously. They also serve as vital food to promote algae growth. Use of CPR (Concentrated Phosphate Remover) will restore the phosphate concentration to an acceptable level.

Reliable Robotic Vacuums with on-site service:

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Robotic pool vacuums have traditionally been a source of great frustration for CES and customers alike. The value of robotically vacuuming your pool cannot be questioned, as manual vacuuming is considerably more expensive and less effective than a good robot. The problem has been finding a reliable robot that you can keep on the pool deck, and keep out of the shop. The Enduro-Turbo Clean has been gaining popularity since its introduction a while ago. The new on-site bumper to bumper preventive maintenance and warranty administration plan is UNIQUE in the pool industry, as the vacuum literally NEVER leaves your pool deck. We are improving our service program on a daily basis as we conquer new challenges one at a time, and there is a bright future for hassle-free pool cleaning. New lease plans allow you a guaranteed pool cleaning solution starting at under $300 a month, and customers have told us that there is no way to clean a pool manually for that amount.

UV and Ozone - Great Supplements for Chlorination: 

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Although both Ozone and UV systems have been around for a long time, they are gaining popularity as supplemental treatment for chlorinated pools. UV provides full flow single pass treatment for chloramines, and some models are EPA certified for single pass remove of Crypto, but are not designed to save a lot of money on Chlorine. Ozone provides tremendous oxidation on overloaded pools, along with more substantial Chlorine savings, and is also gaining popularity on high end residential "chlorine free" pools. Both Ozone and UV require systematic maintenance, so do not consider installing unless you are going to make a commitment to maintain on an semi-annual or annual basis.

What's ahead in 2015:

Technology moved really quickly in 2014 and promises to move even quicker in 2015. What is coming down the pike?

Look for a tremendous new e-commerce inventory and ordering solution next month, followed by innovations in controls, communications, UV, Ozone, Saline and pumping systems. We will also be implementing advances in preventive maintenance, on-site service, remote monitoring, electronic water testing, robotic vacuums, and more. 

That is only what we have planned for release so far... but who know what additional opportunities will come up once we dive headfirst into 2015.

Thanks again for your patronage in 2014, and buckle in. We're going to have some fun. 

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