Summer is in and the Swimming Pool of your Apartment Complex must be splashing with kids, parents, fun and laughter! You may have wondered what keeps the pool water sparkling clean even though so many people use it! Here is a quick article for the typical apartment swimmer interested in knowing his summer heaven!
What gets the Pool dirty?
Simply put, the pool gets dirtied mainly by the following: 1) air-borne pollutants – dust, dry leaves, bird feathers, rain 2) hair and body oils from swimmers, 3) bacteria that breed in the water, 4) algae that breed on the tiles.
The Pool Filtration
To get rid of 1) and 2) the filtration unit of the Pool works continuously. There are drains at the bottom of the deepest end of the pool that sucks in the water continuously and sends to the filtration system. There are also drains at the top sides of the pool that sucks the surface water of the pool (where lighter debri oil, hair float) and sends to the filtration system. Most filters in Apartment Complexes are high-rate sand filters, which are large tanks containing thick bed of special grade sand in a squarish shape. The water first goes through a strainer that catches larger debris like dry leaves, and then goes through this sand filter where rest of the debris are caught.
Water is then fed back into the pool.
To dislodge and clean up the fine dust settled on the pool floor, the Pool Vaccum Cleaner is used that can be pointed to specific areas to suck the water in that area and send to the filtration system. Pool vacuuming must be done at least once a week during the Pool season.
To get rid of 4) bacteria and other pathogen that breed in water, the pool is ‘treated’ with chlorine – the pool disinfectant. Chlorine in its granular (calcium hypochlorite) form or liquid form (sodium hypochlorite) is added at the point the water comes out from the filtration system, and into the pool. Chlorine in water forms hypochlorous acid which kills bacteria and other pathogens.
Did you Know: The strong ‘chlorine smell’ you get in a pool at times, does not mean it has too much chlorine, but too little ‘free chlorine’. The chlorine in the pool combines with other chemicals naturally available in the pool e.g., ammonia to form chloramines. These chloramines cause the distinct smell and eye irritation. This means, the chlorine is used up in these compounds and not available to attack the bacteria in the pool.
Shocking the Pool
To get rid of Chloramines the pool needs to be “Shock Treated”, once a week. This is done by adding unusually high amount of chlorine to the water while the filtration system is on. This “Super Chlorination” completely removes any bacteria or other unhelpful chemicals present in the pool water.
Shock Treating should be done after rains, and the pool should not be used for 12-24 hours after shock treating. This is the reason why most Swimming Pools in Apartment Complexes are closed once a week. This is also the day that any algae found breeding on the pool tiles is dislodged by scrubbing with a brush.
With all these practices in place by a adept pool Custodian, you splash through this summer!
Credits: howstuffworks.com, about.com, ehow.com, caudata.org, wikihow.com. Photo credit: Jennifer Macke