5 Pool Maintenance Tips to Help you Pass Inspection
The last thing most apartment residents may be thinking about now is jumping into a chilly swimming pool. But it’s time for property managers to get their pools and spas ready for the summer season.
At least once per year, properties should have all of their pools inspected to ensure compliance with the appropriate federal, state and local requirements. Waiting too long to get it done and flunking could get a property all wet with its residents. The first item on the list is getting – and passing – an annual pool inspection.
“You don’t want to wait to be the last pool on the list to checked before Memorial Day and get shut down,” said Johnny Kammerer, and account manager at Arlington, Texas-based Accent Pools, which works with the multifamily industry.
City and state inspectors don’t mind pulling the plug for a pool that isn’t up to code. According to the latest Centers for Disease Control (CDC) data, about 12 percent of pools nationwide that were inspected in 2010 were shut down because of serious violations. Most failed because of inferior disinfectant levels resulting from sub-standard chemistry levels that can cause recreational water illnesses.
Pool-related illnesses are caused in part by germs that spread by being swallowed, breathing in mists or aerosols or having contact with contaminated water, according to the CDC. Gastrointestinal, skin, ear, respiratory, eye, neurologic and wound infections are most common.
Kammerer said that a pool will most often fail inspection because the chemistry is off or chemical testing hasn’t been properly documented. Depending on usage and the time of year, chemical levels should be checked two or three times per day. Results must be written down.
“Logging in the chemistry checks is one thing that inspectors hit on,” he said. Another is whether fences and enclosures, including gates, meet codes.
Kammerer said properties can help themselves by designating a maintenance team member as a Certified Pool/Spa Operator, as set forth by the National Swimming Pool Foundation. The certification is recognized by local and state authorities as the most widely-accepted, verifiable pool and spa training credential.
“First and foremost, properties need to designate somebody onsite as a certified pool and spa operator,” he said. “They should understand pool and spa inspection requirements and properties should check them monthly.”
Here are what inspectors check when determining if a pool or spa is fit for use:
1. Proper water chemistry
This includes testing chlorine, alkalinity, P.H., calcium, cyanuric and phosphorous levels, as well as detecting visible algae and determining water clarity.
2. Pool and spa equipment conditions
The pool’s and spa’s operating system must be fit to ensure proper water flow and suction. The filter, vacuum and pressure gauges, flow meters and valves are among hardware that is checked.
3. Pool and spa safety
Pools and spas are evaluated on equipment specific to their operation, but they have some safety features in common. They each must have adequate handrails, working drains and properly functioning returns. All drain covers should be in place, and none should be broken or missing parts. Also, an emergency phone or call device should be located nearby.
4. General safety around the pool
Operators should make sure there is appropriate safety equipment like ring buoys, reaching poles and depth markers for swimmers. Also, fences and enclosures must be the proper height and gates should latch. Deck and plaster conditions are among other items that are evaluated.
5. Proper signage
Signs including lifeguard status, pool and spa bather capacities, rules, shutoff locations, phone location and whether or not diving is allowed should be clearly posted around the pool area. Also, a 911 sign should also be clearly visible.
Kammerer said a safe pool season begins long before the temperatures warm. Getting the annual pool inspection done early is the first step.
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