Commercial Swimming Pool operators and managers have many other daily tasks other than maintaining the pool. Fixing heating systems, leaking sinks, squeaking doors, taking care of the grounds around the facility etc…and oh yeah, the pool. Oftentimes, even a commercial swimming pool gets taken care of last, even though it is most likely the biggest liability on the property. As we know, there are very stringent rules that a commercial pool operator or manager has to abide by. When one or more gets out of whack, you are at risk of the health department, county inspector, or whomever does things in your region, shutting the pool down.
Poor swimming pool operations and management can cost an establishment a monetary loss and could even cause you to lose your job or the business to go under!
As someone who’s been in swimming pool operations and management and manages the cleaning of multiple commercial pools, I have composed a list of things to watch out for. I am aware these differ from region to region, but you’ll get the idea.
Don’t do What?
There has to be proper signage to warn people of risks in and out of the pool. In California, we have a standard 8-fold sign that covers just about everything. Some examples of necessary signs are “No Diving”, “No lifeguard on duty”, “Keep Gate Closed”, Poop-related signs, Emergency contact number signs, and signs that point to the emergency shut-off. A 911 phone may also be required. A pool always needs to have depth/dive markers that are readable. Just to name a few.
Circulate, You must. (A Yoda impersonation)
A functioning circulation system is imperative for any pool, and particularly for commercial pools. If the pump is down or other pieces of equipment are damaged/in need of repair/replacement you are in trouble. Flow meters need to be installed, working properly, and have the correct flow rate.
Keep Out! or Come in Safely!
Gates need to be locked, self-closing and in some areas, open inward. Fences need to be in good condition and without gaps large enough for a person, especially a child, to squeeze through. They must also be tall enough so no one can crawl over. So forget your late-night skinny dipping ideas.
Swimming Pool Log Books (Ancient Technology)
Proper swimming pool operations and management means that water not only needs to be tested daily at a minimum but chemical readings must be recorded and stored in pool logs. Old technology is handwritten logbooks. There is a better way, like with the Pool Shark H20 swimming pool operations and management app, which keeps records that are accessible from your staff’s devices and computers.
All commercial pools and spas must have a lift that is ADA compliant. We have had several properties get shut down because the battery died on the lift. We always suggest having an extra one on hand. Yes, they are pricey but compared to losing guests the cost is relative. Also, loose, damaged, or missing handrails or ladders are a big no-no. Give these a shake every day you maintain your pools.
Lifeguards are required for commercial swimming pool operation, including wave pools (swimming pools designed to produce breaking wave action in the water and not primarily designed for stand-up surfing or bodyboarding) as in Ca. Health & Safety Code § 115592). There is also supposed to be 1 Certified Lifeguard for every 25 people in the pool. Again, this can vary, depending on your area.
VGB (Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act) drain covers are required by law. This goes for pools and spas. The fine, I believe, is like 1 million dollars or something outrageous. Don’t forget these need to be replaced 7years after installation. Vac Locks are also required for designated suction or pressure lines when not in use. Weir gates also need to be in place at each skimmer. Did you know Pool Shark sends out reminders 90 days before the drain cover expires? How cool is that!?
Finish Him! (A Mortal Kombat play on words)
Believe it or not, the condition of the pool's surface is something inspectors look at. Any structural cracks, chips, rebar showing, etc. need to be repaired. This includes the stairs. Mastic also needs to be in place and in good condition.
Is that a Baby Ruth?
Fecal matter in the pool is awful. Also known as a “Brown Out”. Whether liquid or solid it requires some drastic cleaning up. Depending on if it was solid or liquid determines how high you have to have the chlorine and for how long. The pool would need to be shut down until the chlorine level came down and other chemicals were balanced. You could get the results sent instantly to your phone with Pool Shark H20. There is a body fluid contamination report built into Pool Shark H20 as well for AFRs.
The Chemistry Between Us
The biggest issue is going to be a chemical imbalance. High chlorine (Currently over 10ppm) or low chlorine (Under 1ppm). Low or high alkalinity. Chemical feeders not working. Cloudy water is a huge one. Whether it is due to poor filtration or a chemical imbalance, if one cannot see the drain at the bottom of the pool this is extremely dangerous because someone could be drowning and you couldn’t tell. Again, check your water chemistry daily and have instant results on your device with Pool Shark H20.
We can see that these are all safety-related and essential aspects of swimming pool operations and management, so let’s keep it safe out there! On all commercial pools. Hopefully, all your commercial pools remain open all season long!
See you poolside!