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While I very much enjoyed chemistry in school I wasn’t terribly great at it, ok, let’s be honest I was terrible at it. The following is a little chemistry lesson about our pools and spa. This information will let you know what is going on when a pool or the spa is closed to use. We get a lot of questions over here at the Aquatic and Fitness Center about our pool chemistry and this should shed some light on the subject.
There are two basic elements to pool chemistry: water balance and sanitation.
Water balance speaks to the pH of the water. Pool water is delicate, and in order to reach perfect pool harmony, it must be balanced. Balancing a pool means keeping the pH of the water between 7.2 and 7.8, which is slightly above neutral on the pH scale (1-14). On a pH scale, low is more acidic and high is more alkaline or basic.
We will close the body of water if the pH is either too high or too low. If it is too high, swimmers may experience dry, red eyes or a skin rash. If the pH is too low, swimmers may experience burning, red eyes. It generally doesn’t take too much to alter the pH, so pools that are closed for this reason often re-open in a short time.
Sanitation speaks to how free of germs and bacteria pools are. The most common form of pool sanitizer is chlorine. Chlorine is an extremely effective bacteria and algae killer. However, too much or too little chlorine will cause a pool closure as well. When the chlorine is too low, it isn’t sanitizing optimally. When chlorine is too high, swimmers may experience red eyes, skin irritation, and even cloudy water. Again, this isn’t too terribly difficult to remedy and so pools that are closed due to this often re-open in short time.
One thing swimmers can do to help water balance and sanitation is to shower before entering a pool. This rinses substances from the skin and helps minimize the amount of chlorine that must be added on a regular basis.
Our lifeguards test the pools and spa four times every day to make sure our pools are safe, clean, and enjoyable. Our two Certified Pool Operators, Josh and Dan, are the real experts when it comes to pool sanitation and water balance. When something goes wrong, they come and fix it lickity-split!
Erin Dorn, Aquatic & Fitness Coordinator