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Aquatics Programming

Minimizing Risk in Pool Operations


One of the most challenging amenities for a club to operate are those related to water. With a lot of moving parts to manage in pools, it can be difficult to find the right balance of PH levels, the correct temperatures, and proper cleaning and maintenance schedules.

Ocotillo Village Health Club in Chandler, Arizona, boasts a wider range of water-based amenities, including two outdoor heated pools, a splash pad, two indoor whirlpools and more.

According to Joe Melendez, the operations director at Ocotillo Village Health Club, to try and keep downtime to a minimum the brand is constantly monitoring each body of water, beginning with testing the water daily. In addition, it has invested in a chemical controller that sends updates when the water chemical is out of the acceptable range.

The key to finding the right balance, said Melendez, is never becoming complacent. After all, doing so could lead to greater risk to staff and members.  

“Most facilities directors that work directly with chemicals have been exposed to the effects of chlorine gas or acids,” said Melendez. “Over the years I find that the more comfortable you are with something the more you can be in danger of trusting your own judgement. Although experience helps when dealing with emergencies, you can never be overly prepared and you should never be ashamed of being overly cautious when handling chemicals.”

Melendez advised to always be ready with personal protective equipment at each work area, rinse stations, and regular training on what to do in case of an emergency. In addition, it’s important to change your chemical feed lines regularly.

Regardless of what maintenance you do, be sure to log everything in detail to ensure accuracy and help with trouble shooting.

“One of the best things I ever did was hiring a swimmer who knew nothing about the operations of pools and training him from scratch,” recalled Melendez. “He didn’t just do the job to get it done, but because he enjoyed knowing the pools were exactly as they should be. He posted detailed instructions for fecal discharge procedures, backwashing procedures for each body of water and common troubleshooting issues. In this way when he moved on to another job, his experience and knowledge were not lost. Keeping these lists and adding to them has helped trained newer ones and serves as a template while they gain their own experience.”

Rachel Zabonick-Chonko

Rachel Zabonick-Chonko is the editor-in-chief of Club Solutions Magazine. She can be reached at rachel@peakemedia.com.

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