The role of chemicals in the swimming pool is to kill all germs that cause various types of diseases, boost the effectiveness of the disinfection process, protect the pool against algal growth, halt corrosion, scaling of instruments and improve water quality. But, when chemicals are mixed together in the pool, they can cause certain damage to the body as well. It is not just their presence in the pool, which at times is harmful for humans, but the way we handle those chemicals.
In order to avoid any catastrophic events in the swimming pool due to chemicals, here are some recommendations that every pool owner must keep in mind.
Design of swimming pool chemical storage area and pump room
- Add spill containment features in the chemical storage area to avoid leakages of chemicals.
- Everybody using the pool should have an easy access to showers, eye wash section and other chemical safety instruments.
- Stay in close contact with the fire department and also install the right firefighting system.
- Lighting should be efficient, so that the names of chemicals and other labels are clearly readable.
- This is for indoor swimming pools that you have to build an air handling system for pump room and chemical storage area, which is not a part of the building.
- If this can’t be done, then install an emergency HVAC cut-offs, emergency heaters, and ventilators.Proper ventilation needs to be done that goes through outside of the room.
- Install an alarm, which will alert the staff when the pump shuts down.
- Install chlorine/pH feed pumping device.
- Install valves that check the chemicals present in the feed lines.
- Keep children and animals out of the chemical storage area and pump room.
- Chemicals must be contained in proper containers with locking facility to avoid any tampering.
Safety gloves and goggles (PPE)
- All those who are handling chemicals must wear safety gloves and goggles to avoid any health related issues later on.
- Ask the local authorities before storing chemicals that will be used in the swimming pool.
- Place all the chemicals in a cool and dry place, having a temperature below than 35 Degrees Celsius or 85 Degrees Fahrenheit.
- Don’t let moisture get inside the containers in which chemicals are stored. Keep chemicals in a safe place, and regularly check whether the water is not entering into the containers. Just make sure that the containers should remain dry and safe.
- Keep chemicals separately, so that they don’t get mixed, and turn into something lethal. Chlorine products if mixed together can be life-threatening. Moreover, keep the chemicals at a safe distance from inflammable substances such as oil, gasoline, paint and so on.
- Call professionals at the time of disposing of the chemicals in order to avoid any incident.
- Only trained professionals must handle swimming pool chemicals.
- In order to keep the handling process smooth, make sure that there is a good communication between you and those who are handling the chemicals.
- All instructions must be mentioned clearly regarding how to handle the chemicals and how to dispose them off efficiently.
- Make sure that the chemicals that are being used must have the manufacturer’s name labelled. Don’t use any unlabelled container.
- Don’t forget to put on safety gloves and goggles while using swimming pool chemicals.
- If chemicals are to be applied directly at poolside, then make sure that you don’t splash the chemicals. Also, check if the ventilation is proper.
- In case, there is a chemical spill, then don’t try to clean it off yourself, instead call the experts.
Maintenance and Repair
- When the recirculation system stops working, make sure that no swimmer gets in the pool until it gets restarted.
- If chlorine/pH recirculation system has not been serviced for a long time, then get it serviced and restarted. Till then, keep the pool closed for swimmers.
- Only trained people should service recirculation systems and control feed.
- Make sure that they have worn safety gloves and goggles while servicing, as it involves using of pool chemicals.
- Turn off the pumps followed by sealing off chemical feed lines in order to prevent spills.
- Use chlorine feed tube to flush water before cleaning the water with acid.Then, clean feed tube with water followed by connecting it back again.
- Keep an eye on what’s being done by the professionals in order to ensure that everything is on the right track.
Pool Chemical Training for Aquatic Facility Staff
- You will have to make arrangements to train the staff members regarding the basics of pool chemical safety.
- Those who are going to be working with pool chemicals need to be given some extra training.
- You must have an answer to the following questions because after all, it is about the health and wellbeing of the staff members.
- What would be the impact of each swimming pool chemical on the chemistry of water and monitoring systems?
- What if the limit of the test kit is exceeded? How will you measure high levels of chlorine?
- How to calculate swimming pool volume?
- What’s the layout of a safe pump room and chemical storage area?
- It is important to calculate pool an appropriate amount of pool chemicals that are required.
- You must have emergency kits and other safety equipment installed.
Emergency Response Plan
Prior to the incident: Create an emergency response plan that must include the following things:
- Methods to clean up the chemical spills.
- Exact response to the accident and exposure caused by chemical(s).
- Proper communication between different departments.
- Proper evacuation plan.
- Make arrangements to alert all the staff members and emergency response group.
- It is important to have mock drills in order to find out the laws in the evacuation plan. Make a note of all the flaws.
At the time of an incident, make sure to activate the emergency response plan. If it is for the indoor swimming pools, then you must keep in mind that if the chemical fumes are to be released in the pool area, pump room or the chemical storage area, then leave the HVAC system to the ventilation mode.This will be done if the air handling system is separated from other parts of the building. In case, it is being shared with other parts of the buildings, then you will have to turn off the HVAC system at once.
After an incident:
Once the incident is over, you have to keep a record of it in order to learn from the mistakes that were made during the incident. Give the report to the state officials so that they can also take a look at what happened on the premises. The benefit of having a record is that the chances of such events taking place in the future will lower down significantly.
Packaging and labeling of the chemicals
- In order to identify the chemicals easily, you should have a proper labeling of the chemical and moreover, it should be placed in a proper package.
- It is important to package and label every single chemical on a regular basis because if there is any change in the color, size and shape of the package, then it can result in chemical mixing errors.
- Keep all the staff members informed about the changes that have occurred in the packaging and/or labeling of swimming pool chemicals.
- It is better to determine swimming pool chemicals on the lids of the container.
- Make sure that the labels that you use of the chemicals don’t corrode or deteriorate.