Letter to the Editor in response to Letters to the Editor RE: ‘Adding pool chemicals — carefully’

Monday, 12 December, 2016

Letter to the Editor in response to Letters to the Editor RE: ‘Adding pool chemicals — carefully’

It’s quite predictable to receive comments whenever I do presentations or write articles on the addition of common pool chemicals. There are so many experienced, passionate people involved in this industry who have their own thoughts on what is best and should be done. After all, we’re dealing with potentially dangerous, hazardous chemicals. I always welcome comments and feedback should someone disagree with anything I write.

For those who have been following my articles in Pool+Spa, you’ll recall that I’ve mentioned several times that firstly, I’m not an expert in anything and secondly, what I suggest regarding water testing, chemical concentrations, algae control, filtration and particularly chemical addition is, in my opinion, industry best practice and good solid advice based on almost 40 years of experience.

Regarding sodium bicarbonate and the need for alkalinity in pool water, trials I’ve done on commercially painted or tiled pools have concluded that the continued addition of bicarb to maintain alkalinity is unnecessary, and it’s best practice to accept the alkalinity level in the incoming water supply, then keep the calcium at, say, 300 and the pH at pH 7.3 – pH 7.5. This is so for concrete and tiled pools as far as my trials went, but it is readily accepted that alkalinity levels for fibreglass pools needs to be maintained at about 120. This important fact was omitted in my article on this matter and has been rightly commented on by Pool+Spa readers.

To discuss chemical addition further, I mentioned that safety is paramount. Again, my experience with pool chemical addition is that many of the incidents involving pool chemical eruptions, reactions, fires and resultant injury have been caused by inexperienced, untrained and/or careless handlers mixing chemicals. Although trainers teach people to always add chemical to adequate amounts of water, quite often the reverse happens. This is particularly dangerous when dry chlorine (calcium hypochlorite) is added to insufficient water or one of many other commonly used pool chemicals.

For this reason and in an attempt to emphasise the dangers of pool chemicals and to have pool operators work as safely as possible, I recommend as a general rule never to mix any chemicals, but simply add the required amount without mixing. In my opinion, this is simply the safest way.

So thanks for reading and responding to my articles. Debating issues paves the way to bringing about many improvements.

Kind regards,

John McKenny

Macquatics Training


Image credit: ©freeimages.com/Marcel Hol

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