Dealing with Common Pool Water Issues: Prevention and Solutions

Maintaining a commercial swimming pool to ensure crystal-clear water and a safe environment for patrons is a top priority for pool maintenance professionals. Common pool water issues, such as cloudiness, algae growth, and imbalanced water chemistry, can be challenging to tackle. In this article, we’ll explore preventive measures and solutions for dealing with these common pool water problems.


Cloudy Water

Cloudy water is a prevalent issue in commercial pools and can result from various factors, including inadequate filtration, high bather load, and imbalanced water chemistry. To prevent and address cloudy water:

  • Maintain proper water balance, including pH, alkalinity, and calcium hardness levels.
  • Regularly clean and backwash the pool filter to ensure efficient filtration.
  • Encourage patrons to shower before swimming to reduce the introduction of contaminants.
  • Monitor and adjust sanitizer levels, such as chlorine or bromine, to prevent bacterial growth.

Algae Growth

Algae are a persistent nuisance in pool water, causing green or slimy pool surfaces. To prevent and combat algae:

  • Maintain appropriate sanitizer levels and use algaecides when necessary.
  • Keep the pool water properly balanced to discourage algae growth.
  • Brush and vacuum pool surfaces regularly to remove algae spores.
  • Shock the pool after heavy use or rainfall to disrupt algae growth.

pH Imbalance

Imbalanced pH levels can lead to bather discomfort, equipment damage, and reduced sanitizer effectiveness. Prevent pH issues by:

  • Routinely testing and adjusting pH levels within the recommended range (7.2-7.8).
  • Monitoring total alkalinity to help stabilize pH levels. Keep alkalinity at, or near 100 ppm. 
  • Feed acids and bases slowly over longer periods of time to avoid large pH fluctuations. 

Chloramine Buildup

Chloramines, formed when chlorine reacts with organic matter, can cause eye and skin irritation and create an unpleasant pool odor. Prevent chloramine buildup by:

  • Maintaining proper chlorine levels.
  • Breakpoint chlorinate (shock) the pool when chloramine levels are high. 
  • Encouraging good bather habits including showering before swimming and regular bathroom breaks. 
  • Install secondary oxidation systems such as UV lights and ozone generators. 
  • Inspect and maintain your HVAC system to encourage appropriate air flow if your pool is indoors. 

Scaling and Staining

Scale and stains on pool surfaces can be unsightly and damage pool equipment. To prevent scaling and staining:

  • Maintain proper calcium hardness levels to prevent scaling.
  • Keep pH and alkalinity within recommended ranges to avoid staining.
  • Use sequestering agents to prevent metal staining in pools with high metal content.

Filtration Issues

Inadequate filtration can result in poor water quality and increased maintenance challenges. To ensure efficient filtration:

  • Clean and backwash filters regularly to remove debris. 
  • Maintain and clean skimmers and hair and lint strainers any time your clean your filter. 
  • Follow manufacturers written instructions on cleaning and backwashing schedules and procedures.
  • Inspect and maintain the pool pump to ensure proper circulation.

As a pool maintenance professional, addressing and preventing common pool water issues is essential for providing a safe and enjoyable swimming environment for patrons. By maintaining proper water chemistry, implementing good hygiene practices, and conducting regular equipment maintenance, you can minimize the occurrence of water problems and ensure the longevity of your commercial pool. 

These topics are discussed in depth in all Aquatic Council Certified Pool and Spa Operator (CPO) classes.