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SPOTLIGHTS

In the Neighborhood, All Natural, The History of Swimwear & Can You Handle That?

PROVIDING PLAY 6 Steps to Your Dream Playground

IT'S ABOUT ENZYME Sanitation Advancements HEALTH INSPECTOR Friend or Foe?

BENEATH THE SURFACE A Successful Florida Rehab

CAPTURING THE

UNIT

SPRING 2013 Aquatic Leader Magazine  1


2  Aquatic Leader Magazine  SPRING 2013


TABLE OF CONTENTS

CONTENT

4

Message from Mitch

6

Capturing the Modern Family Unit

10

Health Inspector: Friend or Foe?

13

Providing Play

16

Can You Handle That?

18

The History of Swimwear

20

Beneath the Surface

22

It's About Enzyme

26

In the Neighborhood

28

All Natural

30

Reflections / Canada

FEATURES

6

Capturing the Modern Family Unit

By Victor Hanas and Leah Vogely In an ever–changing housing industry, keeping up with the times can prove challenging. And not much has changed more in recent years than the modern family.

10

Health Inspector: Friend or Foe?

A No–Cost Solution to Your Seasonal Staffing Needs

By Daniel Kessel To help uncover the mysterious role of the health inspector, we spoke with Lucy Goszkowski, an environmental sanitarian for Anne Arundel County, Maryland.

13

Hotel Maids Waiters / Waitresses Kitchen Staff Janitorial Services

Providing Play

Bell Services

By Rose Ahern and Tina Spritka

Front Desk Clerk

Playgrounds are a kid’s idea of a good time. But, the key to a successful and safe space is having a well constructed plan — from initial design to final installation.

23

Retail Food Service And much more!

It's About Enzyme Call us today for your staffing solution.

By Chris Marcano Enzymes are non–living protein molecules that create a catalyst when they come into contact with non–living organics — speeding up the biodegradation process.

Work & Travel

A division of American Pool Enterprises, Inc.

A division of American Pool Enterprises, Inc.

1-866-446-2872 www.unitedworkandtravel.com

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Creators CEO / Mitchell Friedlander Art Director / Leah Vogely Copy Editor / Laura Laing Graphic Designer / Michael Boys Graphic Designer / Leah Vogely

Contributors Rose Ahern Waylon Bennett Chad Brewer James Darke Mitchell Friedlander Victor Hanas Neil Gates Sabraya Ghale Daniel Kessel Howie Kirshenbaum Chris Marcano Megan Russell Tina Spritka Leah Vogely Brooks Wedeking

Publishing notes Aquatic Leader Magazine™ is published semi–

Message from Mitch Spaces for Play

A

s the pool and spa industry has grown, one truth has risen to the surface — a swimming pool is not just about the water. Whether in the backyard or a commercial property, these recreational spaces offer an unbeatable combination of physical activity and leisure.

This issue of Aquatic Leader Magazine™ examines the ingredients of a successful pool or spa — from creative developments and advancements to community–building opportunities. We'll show you how child–friendly play spaces can boost community involvement. And we've considered how the family unit has changed, requiring us all to rethink how to bring everyone together. At the same time, natural swimming pools are entering the American market, offering an interesting option for water recreation. We'll also look at how adding enzymes can help pool owners keep the water cleaner and enhance chlorine–only sanitation systems.

annually by American Pool Enterprises, Inc. It can be viewed online at: www.americanpool.com/aquaticleader Please send reprint requests and letters to: Aquatic Leader Magazine American Pool Enterprises, Inc.

Of course, safety is still our number one concern. Is your health inspector a friend or foe? We settle this question once and for all. We'll also outline how to safely store and handle pool chemicals. And then there are the personal stories — from the challenges of running a pool service out west to the success story of a 40–year–old pool service company to a brilliant pool makeover in south Florida. If you're looking for inspiration, you've found it.

11515 Cronridge Drive, Suite Q Owings Mills, MD 21117 P. 1.877.920.7665

We trust you will enjoy this issue of Aquatic Leader Magazine™ as much as we have enjoyed creating it. Here's to a safe and successful season!

General information about the company and its services may be found at

Professionally yours,

www.americanpool.com.

Advertising Partners Alliant Insurance Services, Inc. AquaCal AutoPilot, Inc. Hayward Commercial Pool Products Merlin Industries, Inc. Natural Chemistry Pentair Commercial Aquatics The Lifeguard Store

Mitchell Friedlander Chief Executive Officer American Pool Enterprises, Inc. Family of Companies mfriedlander@americanpool.com www.americanpool.com

United Work and Travel Unless otherwise noted, photographs are provided by shutterstock.com or corbis.com. Copyright © 2013 American Pool Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the written consent of the publisher.

4  Aquatic Leader Magazine  SPRING 2013

Photograph by Leah Vogely


H a y w a r d ® C o m m e r c i a l Po o l P r o d u c t s

All you need is ONE. Introducing

Saline C 6.0 ™

Commercial Salt Chlorine Generator

Finally, a low cost, eco-friendly chlorine solution specifically designed for Commercial needs has arrived… Now Commercial Pools and Spas can offer the same natural, enjoyable swimming experience so common in the Residential market without compromise. With just ONE vessel, eliminate complex plumbing, poorly performing, and costly multi-cell installations. Marry the Saline C™ 6.0 with any of our pH/ORP CAT Controllers® for truly automated water quality management and PoolComm® for the convenience of remote monitoring and audit tracking.

Hayward, CAT Controllers and PoolComm are registered trademarks and Saline C is a trademark of Hayward Industries, Inc. © 2013 Hayward Industries, Inc.

• • • • • •

Compact design, single cell and power supply for easy install Industrial-grade, clear vessel for easy inspection Reverse polarity, self-cleaning technology Plug N’ Play Chemical Automation Eliminate transportation, handling and storage of chlorine 40% to 60% lower cost per lb of chlorine vs. sodium and calcium hypochlorite • NSF certified Scan the QR code with your mobile device to watch the power of Saline C 6.0. To learn more about Hayward Commercial products, call a specialist toll-free 1-800-657-2287 or visit www.haywardcommercialpool.com

Total System: Pumps I Filters I Heating | Cleaners I Sanitization I Automation SPRING I Lighting2013 I Safety I White Goods I Flow Control Aquatic Leader Magazine  5


Capturing the Modern Family Unit | Feature

By Victor Hanas and Leah Vogely

In an ever–changing housing industry, keeping up with the times can prove challenging. And not much has changed more in recent Years than the modern family. 6  Aquatic Leader Magazine  SPRING 2013


O

ne thing is certain: today's family is overwhelmed. As day–to–day lives become more complex, these families count on an on–demand lifestyle based in convenience and personalization. Technology helps them manage an often–hectic calendar, where even leisure is carefully timed and scheduled. It's no wonder that families are looking for even more ways to make life easier and more manageable. In a down economy, multi–family housing has been a shining star. Last year, according to Housingwire.com, multi–family housing mortgage originations saw a 49 percent increase in fourth quarter alone. And with new families seeking the perfect home and community, it's important for board members and property owners to understand who is choosing to live in multi–family housing — and why. How can these home buyers' attention be captured and their needs be met? This new generation of families demands something more from their housing community. Common communal amenities, like the pool, playground and gym, have always been attractive incentives for an apartment complex, home–owner community or country club. However, these alone are not enough anymore. Now, more than ever, residents are carefully considering enhanced amenities, social activities and even special promotions.

Mission Improvable Keeping amenities up–to–date and well maintained is smart. Not only does this encourage their use, but it also sends an important message to residents: Your surroundings and comfort are important. To stay ahead in today's competitive market, communities must look at short– and long–term renovation goals and approach these plans with innovation. Professional builders or contractors can suggest add–ons, enhancements and renovations that attract the right audience, while keeping current residents active and involved. Make a Splash Pool and spa improvements can clearly boost the overall appearance of commercial facilities. But a renovation budget can also help target desired markets. Adding splash pads and spray parks will automatically help to attract families with children and teens. “We have received several requests to install

“Now, more than ever,

residents are carefully considering enhanced amenities, social activities and even special promotions.”

or incorporate a splash pad or interactive water features into pool renovation plans,” says Jim Darke, president of American Pool Service of Georgia, “It’s definitely a growing trend and one that will help properties stay competitive in the eyes of the families looking to purchase a home or membership.” In higher–end markets, properties promote chic rooftop pools to attract a more mature audience. A spa–like ambiance can be created with saunas, steam rooms or even massage services. With selected add–ons and enhancements, facilities demonstrate that they have a particular niche audience in mind. Improvements and additions can target potential residents who have specific interests and needs. Deconstructed Playtime Modern families are looking for opportunities to put aside devices in favor of face–to–face community interaction, so social gatherings are an important aspect of multi–family home living and club membership. When it comes to the modern family, these events often revolve around playtime. But instead of piling into the car or dragging out strollers for a long walk to the local park, families want to gather close to home. Today's outdoor playgrounds are nothing like our grandparents', but it doesn't take a huge investment to perk up an existing area. Newly built playgrounds can be added on to over time. Modular play structures allow for custom designs, while classic freestanding equipment can be positioned to create an open play area. Costs can be trimmed with community–built playgrounds.

Of course play can happen anywhere. Designated communal areas, like a group of picnic tables under a canopy or a large shade tree, offers parents and guardians a great spot to supervise their kids in unstructured play, while reconnecting with other adults. Now playtime can cater to multiple audiences, seamlessly. Keep up the Pace According to Medicine.net, high–impact aerobics and home gym systems are a thing of the past. Instead, fitness buffs and amateur athletes are embracing less structured and less expensive options. The basic exercise plan is seeing a revival, and ideas like functional fitness — working groups of muscles so that the body can handle daily tasks — require fewer fitness accessories. Creative fusion exercise is taking over the aerobic fitness world. These programs incorporate elements of dance, fitness boot camp and yoga. An example is Cy–Yo, a fitness plan that combines yoga and cycling sessions. And then there is the buddy system. With the economic downturn, personal trainers are tougher to afford. Exercising has become a social event, from running clubs to bicycling groups, as well as grassroots fitness classes taking place in a variety of indoor and outdoor spaces. Like any addition to amenities, the price tags can vary, but even the smallest budgets can afford these options — and often without a room full of gym equipment. In fact, open–air, early morning yoga by the pool may be more appealing than a machine positioned in front of a television.

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You’re Invited Planning, pricing and building an amenity is time consuming, but the work shouldn’t stop when the contractor leaves. To keep any amenity relevant to your community, the next step is planning activities, programming and events that highlight the advantages of your living space and keep residents happy. In addition to a good time, a well– received event can be the catalyst for promotion. In short, these curated experiences can lead to one of the strongest endorsements in the industry — the friend or family referral. Buzz created by current residents is priceless, and investing in current residents' satisfaction feeds into larger marketing strategies. “Last summer, we hosted movie nights at several of the pools we manage,” says Dan Lawler, President of Recreational Management Services, a pool management company in New Jersey. “We received a great response from the community and enjoyed creating an activity around the pool that was out–of–the–ordinary.” Consider events like wine tastings or cooking classes for couples, or a field day or carnival for families. This close–to–home entertainment provides opportunities for the modern family to enjoy inexpensive, bite–sized outings in their own backyard — and perhaps without even hiring a sitter. #SociallyAcceptable These days, a traditional bulletin board may not be the most engaging way to share information quickly and with a large audience. In a world that revolves around technological connectivity, the computer and smart phone are the most efficient venues for grabbing attention. It may take some getting used to, but creating a simple social media strategy can help get the word out about upcoming events or property enhancements. The audience on Facebook is becoming more diverse, especially when it comes to age. Baby Boomers and GenXers now depend on this network to interact with family, friends and businesses. Inviting images of a housing development can shine a welcoming light on any community. Managers can stay on top of this promotion with a simple posting schedule.

Here are some events that may interest your community. Be sure to consider your audience and promote creatively. Finding the right partners is key to successful programming. Enjoy!

Couples Cooking Class Audience: Couples of all ages Designed to be entertaining and enjoyable, a couples cooking class is a great way to learn while having fun close to home. Participants learn how to prepare light, healthy courses that are easy to replicate in their own kitchen — from a fresh salad to the main entrée. More than a date night, a cooking class offers couples a way to meet new friends with similar interests. Price per person: $60 – $80

Depending on the audience, tweeting may be more effective then posting messages on Facebook. With 140 characters, communication on Twitter is simple and quick. Events can be organized using hash tags that help specific audiences stay alert for the next #movienight or #winetasting. For those members who aren’t connected on Twitter or Facebook, and may never make the social leap, it's a good idea for facilities to focus on their websites. And today, there's no need to access the back–end or code of the site. With content management tools, information can be updated and managed very easily. Or a simple blog from WordPress can provide an easy way to promote events and even update residents with new community guidelines and decisions. A web developer or designer can help set up these sites and even offer training for managing content and integrating social media posts or tweets. Whether it's a poolside barbeque, bubbles at the playground or 50 minutes of fat–blasting at boot camp, families today are looking for a living space that can provide the best return on their investment. Beyond price, they are also looking for on– demand and close–to–home entertainment. And while the economy remains in flux, the multi–family housing industry is seeing growth. Now is the time for multi–family communities to take simple steps to stay competitive by enhancing, activating and promoting their communities, creatively.

Movie Night by the Pool Audience: All ages (Film dependent) Movies in the Park events have gained popularity in recent years, but what about Movies by the Pool? At this event, residents enjoy a night swim (lifeguards present) while watching a projection of a movie on a screen or building. Serve snacks, like popcorn, and promote your event by handing out tickets to your residents. Price per person: Variable.

Open–Air Yoga Audience: All ages Open air yoga doesn’t require a studio or fitness area. It simply requires a local instructor, students with yoga mats and an open space. There are several places on your property that will work: a grassy area, a roof top or even a poolside space will do just fine. To start, create a simple schedule for the weekends. Experiment by trying out different locations or let the instructor shape the class. Price per person: $8 – $20

Playground Hunt & Picnic Audience: Families with young children Creating an event for both kids and parents is smart. Incorporate the playground space for an easy scavenger hunt where kids can discover small prizes placed around the playground. Each prize is “won” through an action, for example, “Do five jumping jacks to access this prize!” Supervisors can keep the game going, while parents setup the healthy snacks for a picnic in an adjacent shaded area. After the game, kids and parents may socialize over watermelon and other refreshments. Price per person: $5 – $20

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Health Inspector: Friend or Foe? | Regulation Spotlight

HEALTH INSPECTOR Friend or Foe? BY DANIEL KESSEL

O

n the surface, it may look like the health inspector's mission is to make our lives difficult. With an eye for what is wrong at a facility, these folks go over swimming pool grounds and facilities with a fine–toothed comb. But in the end, the health inspector's job is just as important as the lifeguard's. The beginning of the season may be the most trying for the pool operator, as the stress of the winter is revealed. So this is a great time to collaborate with your local health inspector and pool operator. With a solid assessment, you can budget for required improvements and keep your pool running efficiently. To help uncover the mysterious role of the health inspector in pool and spa operations, Daniel Kessel spoke with Lucy Goszkowski, an environmental sanitarian for Anne Arundel County, Maryland. Here she shares lessons from her 28–year experience with the Bureau of Environmental Health. What do you feel is the mission of the Department of Health in regards to the operation of commercial pools? The Department’s overall mission is to preserve, promote and protect the public health of residents. For pools and spas, this means ensuring good safety and health practices at all the facilities we regulate. Operating a pool in compliance with all regulations helps prevent injuries and control the spread of waterborne diseases. What are the most common violations you see when inspecting a commercial pool during a pre–opening inspection? What about an in–season inspection? What are the primary differences? During the pre–opening inspection at a seasonal pool, we verify that all of the physical aspects of the facility are in place and functioning before the pool is opened. A violation at a pre–opening usually means something was not quite ready for inspection, such as missing or broken equipment. Commonly cited items include rescue tubes, telephones, first–aid kits, flow meters and pump–strainer baskets. We may also cite hot water that has not been turned on, a disorderly or dirty pump room or winter damage, like cracked tiles. In addition, dye tests may fail because of one or more blocked returns, either from work that’s been done in the off–season, such as plastering, or just from accumulated dirt. In contrast, periodic operating inspections focus on water quality and staffing. Our job is to ensure that the water chemistry meets regulation requirements. We also verify that every pool has a properly trained and licensed lifeguard and pool operator. By far, the most frequent violation we see is chlorine that is out of range, usually too low. The next most common

HEALTH INSPECTOR Lucy Goszkowski (pictured right) is an environmental sanitarian for Anne Arundel County, Maryland. After 28 years with the Bureau of Environmental Health, she knows her stuff.


Photograph by Leah Vogely

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Health Inspector: Friend or Foe? | Regulation Spotlight

violations are pH that is too high and then licensing problems. The county has licensing requirements for pool operators and lifeguards, who cannot work without a license. These violations may result in a summary closure of the pool. Of course any immediate hazard to health or safety forces us to suspend a pool's operating permit. In the last two years, nearly all of these have been due to loose or missing drain covers. How can these common violations be avoided? Pay attention! In Maryland, chlorine and pH must be checked hourly, so they should never be out of range. Regulations vary from place to place, but pool operators are responsible for knowing the requirements of the county they work in. This is essential, whether the pool is professionally managed or not. How many pool management companies have you worked with? We work with about a dozen pool management companies every summer. Each one manages anywhere from one to 50 facilities in the county. We have 280 pool sites, with about 450 main pools, wading pools and spas. Approximately 80 percent of our pools are professionally managed. From the perspective of health and safety, what are the benefits of working with a pool management company? Working with a management company can be easier than a self–managed pool in a few

GET TING ALONG BY BROOKS WEDEKING

Whether you dread a visit from the health inspector or look at it as a learning experience, there are some ways to forge a good working relationship. Brooks Wedeking, General Manager at American Pool, offers this advice.

It is the pool operator’s responsibility to work in coordination with their local health department to make sure that whatever facilities they are responsible for are 100 percent safe. With that in mind, it's impor-

12  Aquatic Leader Magazine  SPRING 2013

different ways. The most efficient way to get spring inspections done is to have a management company representative schedule the inspections. The inspector and representative can then travel from pool to pool, doing inspections in one fell swoop. For self– managed facilities, each pool has to be scheduled with its respective manager. It's also easier to solve problems when I've developed a good working relationship with a pool management company. I can rely on these people to give me their perspective on equipment and management issues. I know all the regulations, but the only pool I've managed is in my backyard. We also have companies based outside of our region that are unfamiliar with local regulations. These pools can get up to speed quickly if one company is managing all of them. How do you handle the many federal, state and local mandates that have been established in recent years, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA),Virginia Graeme Baker (VGB) and the local Automated External Defibrillator (AED) requirements? We've had a ton of new requirements thrown at us in just the last five years. One of my roles as the local pool official is an educational one. I want to be able to answer questions as they come in — not just refer people to a website or toll–free number. It is one thing for the federal government to hand down a law or regulation; it’s another for the local health department to implement it.

These federal requirements were, incidentally, another place where dealing with pool management companies often made my job easier. Companies with a lot of clients needed a staff member who was familiar with the new rules — and often learning the ins and outs along with me. This made addressing compliance problems at managed pools much more straightforward than at self–managed facilities. Based on your experience, how have these new regulations affected the average commercial pool owner? I think the average commercial pool owner may feel frustrated by these new requirements coming one after another. They may be legislatively unrelated to each other, but they all have the same target. The new regulations' immediate impact on pool owners is additional money and time. However, I think many owners see that these new rules result in genuine safety improvements. If you had to give one piece of advice to the average commercial pool owner as a health inspector, what would it be? I cannot give just one piece of advice, so here are two. First, be familiar with the regulations. There is an easy–to–read summary for pool operators on our website, www.aahealth.org. Next, if you have questions about anything related to your commercial pool, call your health inspector. Maintaining a good working relationship with your health inspector can help you solve problems quickly and stay in compliance.

tant to be prepared. When scheduling inspections, have the list of pools you need inspected on hand. Make sure that you are on time and ready for the inspection. And do a pre–inspection where you cover what you anticipate the inspector will be checking.

Unfortunately, there are many ways to get on the bad side of a health inspector. Being unprepared is a big one, along with being dishonest or argumentative. It’s important to be humble and keep your ego in check when dealing with a health inspector.

In your pre–inspection, verify flow with a dye test, make sure all safety equipment is present and in good shape, tighten all ladders and handrails and confirm that all necessary signage is posted. It’s also important to make sure that any client responsibilities (including landscaping and fencing) have been addressed prior to inspection.

On the other hand, if you communicate openly with your health inspector, the whole process can run smoothly. Respect their knowledge base and follow through on your commitments. Be thankful for any extensions you may receive, and be sure to get the required work done on time.


Providing Play | Feature

o you remember sliding down your first slide? Or the countless hours spent crossing the monkey bars? Swinging as high as you could on a swing? Playgrounds are a kid’s idea of a good time. But, the key to a successful and safe space is having a well–constructed plan. We all know that outdoor playgrounds are just plain fun, but there's more to them than entertainment. Engaging play areas at apartments, condominiums and other living environments also provide opportunities for families to gather and socialize, as well as for kids to develop — emotionally, socially and physically. Research shows a clear link between play and brain development, motor–skills and social capabilities. All learning can be fueled by the pleasure of play. Playgrounds can also help address childhood obesity. For most adults, exercise means working out in a gym, running or lifting weights. But kids get exercise through play, including time spent on playgrounds. Unfortunately, the U.S. faces a startling health crisis. When children are inactive, they can become overweight and obese. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the number of children and adolescents in the U.S. who have been identified as overweight has increased dramatically in recent decades. Since the 1970s, the number of overweight children in the country has more than doubled among young children ages two to five years and almost tripled among school– aged children. That means more than 15 percent of children and adolescents in the U.S.

are obese. Obese children often face serious health problems, including high cholesterol, high blood pressure, type II diabetes, gall bladder disease, orthopedic problems, asthma, sleep apnea and more. One simple solution for this alarming situation is to encourage kids to do what comes naturally to them: play. Planning, selecting and installing a playground can be a challenging and exciting process. At the same time, you may start off with more questions than answers. How much space do we need? What's our playground's focus? How do we want the playground to look? How will our tenants or owners react? What is our budget? Will we need to fundraise? The best approach for creating a spectacular playground or adding to an existing play area is the same way you'd build a new physical skill — by taking things one step at a time.

Step 1: What do you need?

The first and most critical step is to assess the need. This is actually the best time to contact a playground expert who can help conduct a needs assessment. These specialists can help turn a wish list into a concrete set of objectives based on the age of children, capacity requirements and budget. Look for a playground company who can provide this assessment free of charge. A site assessment will offer an analysis of the site requirements, including space, grade and other considerations. Be sure that plans comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Accessibility Guidelines, so that children with all abilities can use the facilities and equipment. Your playground provider can share all of the information you need to make an efficient analysis of your playground needs. Whenever possible, involve children in the process. Watch them play and determine what kind of activities they enjoy. Ask for their ideas. A successful project depends on kids having a positive experience. Of course, a critical partner in any playground development project is the company hired to oversee or do the installation. Be sure to ask about customer service history, especially its track record for providing complete, error–free and on–time projects. This is also a good time to have a conversation about the process, from design to delivery to installation. Reputable companies All photographs provided by BCI Burke © Copyright 2013

14  Aquatic Leader Magazine  SPRING 2013

provide comprehensive service, well beyond the sale of the equipment.

Step 2: Playground Design

Once the site is assessed, the next step is to review the plethora of playground options and types of equipment available. Be sure to consider age–appropriate elements, use zones, safety surfacing options, shade structures and maintenance. The Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) offers a free Public Playground Safety Handbook at www.cpsc. gov. This is another place that your playground expert can be invaluable — offering help in understanding the CPSC requirements, the American Society for Testing Materials (ASTM) standards, the ADA Standards for Accessible Design and the International Play Equipment Manufacturing Association (IPEMA) criteria. Then the real fun begins. Throughout the design process, your playground manufacturer will help you visualize the final result with two– and three–dimensional drawings. This step in the process is vital, allowing you to select the options, play structures, safety surfacing, shade structures and site amenities that best suit your preferences. Always clearly communicate requirements and expectations. Honest, open communication eliminates wasted effort. No one wants the design of a $100,000 project on a $20,000 budget.

Step 3: Build Consensus

Talk to as many stakeholders as you can when planning your playground. Most projects run more efficiently when all participants understand the process, as well as the challenges. Plus, getting input from kids, parents, owners, renters and others is the best way to insure that the final playground is well used. Many groups choose to fundraise, so that everyone feels a sense of ownership in the project. Teams of volunteers come together to assemble community–built playground projects. Installation day is an event that engages as many people as possible, from start to finish.

Step 4: Delivery

The playground delivery needs to be considered early in the planning process. When meeting your installation


A community playground installation brings people together and provides a sense of investment and ownership.

expert, be sure get details about the timeline, including the estimated design and build times, as well as special considerations needed to ensure the turnaround that you desire. For delivery, each module of the playground equipment is wrapped in a scrim, which helps prevent chipping and scratching. Parts are stacked on palettes, and each of these is also shrink–wrapped. Other material may be shipped in wooden or cardboard boxes. Playground equipment is huge, so the delivery is made with a semi–truck and trailer. In a community install, volunteers empty the truck, assembly–line style; otherwise a forklift is necessary. Before delivery, all site prep work will be finished. Prep work includes leveling and installing the project–specific surface. This allows installation to begin immediately.

Step 5: Playground Installation

There are two important considerations for installation: Do you want to rely

on a professional installer hired specifically for your job, or do you prefer a community install that engages volunteers in the area and builds enthusiasm? In either case, your expert can provide guidance and insight to be sure that your playground installation is done right and is in compliance with industry safety guidelines. When investing in playground equipment, be sure to research not only the play components, but also how the company stands behind their product after the sale. Ask about after–sale services and warranties of the products.

Step 6: Safe Play and Supervision According to the CPSC, each year 200,000 playground injuries require emergency room care. Plus, 80 percent of all school injuries happen on the playground. Children and adults must be taught and encouraged to practice safe play on playgrounds. The National Program for Playground Safety (NPPS) provides valuable safety information on its website, www.playgroundsafety.org. One critical safety measure is proper playground surfacing. In addition, selecting, installing and maintaining appropriate play components are key factors in reducing play-

ground injuries. These precautions can keep kids safe for years to come. Don't ignore proper supervision. According to Dr. Donna Thompson, director of the National Program for Playground Safety, one of the most important, yet often overlooked, components of playground safety is an effective supervision program. She emphasizes that no matter how safe the equipment is, it cannot supervise the children. Don't forget that children must be reminded of how to play safely. Post safety rules, and the consequences for not following them, in a prominent place on the site. Whenever possible, shade should be provided on playgrounds. When children and adults can escape the sun's dangerous rays and heat, they are likely to linger outdoors for extended periods of time. In addition, shade structures keep play equipment surfaces cooler — an important consideration for kids' sensitive hands and skin. With some hard work and perseverance, you can watch your dream of a new playground take shape before your eyes. More importantly, children and their caregivers will have the benefits of a healthy, safe and engaging play environment.

SPRING 2013 Aquatic Leader Magazine  15


Can You Handle That? | Safety Spotlight

CAN YOU HANDLE THAT? A GUIDE TO PROPER STORAGE AND HANDLING OF POOL CHEMICALS IN YOUR PUMP ROOM BY JAMES DARKE AND SABRAYA GHALE

P

ools and spas are the epitome of relaxation and recreation — where we go to shrug off the worries of our everyday lives, where children explore and where families connect. For many Americans, pools are the centerpiece of restorative summers and the emblem of year–round leisure and physical activity. Of course none of the benefits of pools and spas are possible without careful attention to safety. At a well–managed pool, swimmers feel protected from the inherent dangers of the water, often unaware of the countless checks and balances required to maintain pool safety and health. In the end, pool safety is a balancing act. That is why facilities are designed to maximize recreation, while minimizing the risk of injury. Of course pool chemicals themselves can also be harmful when not handled properly. In 2008, almost 4,600 emergency–room visits were prompted by pool chemical–associated injuries. The most common reason was poisoning, including ingesting pool chemicals, dermatitis or conjunctivitis and the inhalation of vapor, fumes or gases. Just like any other feature of a pool's safety plan, the proper storage and handling of pool chemicals can keep employees and swimmers safe. And there are other benefits, like extending the life of equipment. When guidelines are properly followed, chemicals — the very things designed to keep swimmers healthy and a pool functioning properly — can do their jobs without further risk.

POOL CHEMICALS Keeping the water and grounds safe requires an arsenal of pool chemicals, including calcium chloride, calcium hypochlorite,

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cyanuric acid, sodium hypochlorite, sodium thiosulfate, carbon dioxide and muriatic acid. Every staff member must understand the risks associated with these chemicals, so that the proper precautions can be taken. A number of these chemicals are classified as having so–called physical hazards. This means there is valid evidence that the chemical is a combustible liquid, compressed gas, organic peroxide or oxidizer. Or they may be pyrophoric (can ignite spontaneously when exposed to air), explosive, flammable, unstable or water–reactive. In addition, chemicals can be classified as posing health problems to humans. Based on at least one study, exposure to these chemicals may cause acute or chronic health effects. Types of health hazards include carcinogens, toxins, irritants, corrosives, sensitizers, reproductive toxins and organ–specific agents. Safety measures help prevent these health or physical hazards. These include proper chemical storage and chemical handling, as well as adequate pool chemical training. But how can you learn the safe ways to handle and store chemicals? One important source for this information is container label. Labels must be marked with the identity of the chemical, the appropriate physical and health warnings for the chemical, and the name and address of the chemical manufacturer, importer or other responsible party. The chemical name on the label must match the name on the chemical’s MSDS sheet, and the name on the pool's list of hazardous chemicals. If a label is damaged and new label is required it must contain the same information as the manufacturer’s label. In addition, it's important to refer to federal, state and local laws that regulate proper storage and handling. Pools in each locality may be

governed by a different set of guidelines that are designed to keep everyone safe and healthy.

STORING POOL CHEMICALS Care must be taken when storing chemicals to avoid spills, mixing with other chemicals or coming into contact with heat sources or even water. Storage room temperatures should not exceed 95º F or 35º C, so steer clear of areas with high humidity and direct sunlight. To keep chemicals dry, do not store containers directly on the floor and make sure they are away from doors and windows. Cover the containers at all times using waterproof materials. Each chemical should be stored separately, including all chlorine products. In fact, only like chemicals should be stored above or below each other, and chlorine and acid must never be stored side–by–side. To avoid the risk of ignition, do not store gasoline, lawnmowers and grills in the pump room, and keep the room clean of trash, debris and rags. When cleaning the storage area, be sure to use cleaning agents that are compatible with the pool chemical. Chemical storage areas must also be well lit and ventilated, preferably to the outside. If you have deteriorating, unwanted or unlabeled pool chemicals, make sure to dispose of these carefully. The product manufacturer or your local state or hazardous materials group can offer advice on how to do this. Chemicals in unlabeled containers require special care.

CHEMICAL HANDLING Chemical handling is another essential part in preventing illness or injury. Anyone handling pool chemicals must wear necessary personal


SPOT THE DIFFERENCES

ILLUSTRATION BY MICHAEL BOYS

DISCLAIMER: ILLUSTRATION HAS BEEN SIMPLIFIED AND DOESN'T NECESSARILY REPRESENT A PROPER PUMP ROOM SET UP IN ITS ENTIRETY.

SPRING 2013 Aquatic Leader Magazine  17


Can You Handle That? | Safety Spotlight

protective equipment, or PPE, to prevent direct contact with their skin or eyes. Make sure that chemical goggles and chemical–resistant gloves are kept clean, in working order and available at all times. Consult the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) for guidance on the PPE necessary to protect against chemical– handling risks. Many injuries can occur from direct chemical contact with the skin or if chemical dust in the air comes in contact with the eyes. Irritants can cause inflammation of eyes, skin or respiratory systems. Most effects are usually temporary, but corrosives — usually concentrated acids or bases — can cause irreversible damage, including severe burns to the skin, blindness and lung damage. Most toxins are not poisons, but toxic substances can also cause significant health problems, such as the disruption of ordinary bodily functions (breathing or blood circulation) or target–organ effects (damaging specific organs). Do not use dry scoops and buckets for more than one chemical. Also, require everyone who handled pool chemicals to wash their hands.

Only those who have been trained in safe chemical–handling practices and storage should be allowed to manage pool chemicals. Training is an effective way to prevent physical and health hazards — and it is also required by law. In early 1984, OSHA's Federal Hazard Communication Standard, or the Right– to–Know Law, has mandated employees be told about the dangerous chemicals they are handing and trained in how to mitigate any risks associated with these chemicals. After some modifications, this regulation now applies to all facilities, of any type.

KEEPING PUMP ROOMS SAFE Pumps, filters, valves, electrical connections, flow meters, chemical systems, piping, water supply lines — each of these work in tandem to promote proper functionality and safety. Machinery can be expensive to repair or replace, so proper care and preventative maintenance are essential to maximize their life expectancy. At the same time, keeping these systems in top–notch working order can reduce the risk of injury. Pump rooms are notoriously small, hot,

Illustration by Megan Russell

18  Aquatic Leader Magazine  SPRING 2013

loud and messy. It's no wonder no one wants to be in them for long. Often these rooms serve a dual purpose, used also for chemical storage and as the injection point for pool chemicals. But the very chemicals that are used to balance the pool water and make it safe can be released into the air as halogens, which are not only harmful to pool equipment but also dangerous for respiration. Chlorine is one of those chemicals. While a very effective disinfectant, chlorine can also be very corrosive. At room temperature, it is a yellow–green gas with a pungent, irritating order that is similar to bleach and detectable at low concentrations. Because its density is about 2.5 times greater than air's, it remains near the ground when the air is still. It is not flammable, but it can react explosively or form explosive compounds with other common substances, including acetylene, ether, turpentine, ammonia, natural gas, hydrogen and finely divided metals Chlorine fumes can be released quite easily — when refilling a chlorinator, opening a bucket of chlorine tablets or even storing a vat of chlorine. When chlorine fumes come in


contact with metals, the reaction is immediate and the severity is dependent on the type of metal. At a minimum, corrosion begins to take effect, impacting not only the appearance of the metal, but also its usefulness. Corrosion–resistant metals are not immune to the effects of chlorine fumes. Stainless steel, copper and aluminum may end up with rust spots and pitting. The best way to reduce fumes is simply to keep the chlorine and other chemicals out of the pump room altogether. Store them in a room that contains few, if any, metals and properly ventilate that room. In addition, separate the air handling systems of the pump room, storage room and the rest of the pool facilities. Or install emergency heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) cutoffs in these areas. Putting all of these safe guards in place means peace of mind. Luckily, most are simple, common sense measures. When the risk of chemical injury, illness or damage to equipment is minimized, everyone — including the pool owner or manager — can focus on leisure and physical recreation.

SPRING 2013 Aquatic Leader Magazine  19


Beneath the Surface | Renovation Spotlight

Beneath The Surface A Successful Flor ida R eh a b By Neil Gates

F

or a South Florida residential community that caters to families and snowbirds alike, the winter months are peak season. But in the fall of 2012, Duo Condominiums needed to address a big problem. Along with cracked tiles, missing grout and fissures in the Diamond Brite surface, the pool was losing water — a lot of water. We had been managing the Florida condo's pool and spa for three years. Careful inspection showed that the majority of the leaks were a result of structural and cosmetic defects. It appeared the pool had started to settle, shifting and cracking inflexible tile and other surfaces. As pool water continued to leak behind the pool shell, the issues would get worse, continuing to compromise the structure.

20  Aquatic Leader Magazine  SPRING 2013

Another contractor recommended that the pool beam be replaced, with a price tag of about $30,000, but we came in with a more conservative option. By removing the tile to investigate further, we could more accurately assess the damage and perhaps offer a more affordable repair. If there were no additional structural issues, the pool could simply be retiled, and if additional defects were discovered, those could be addressed before retiling. The property managers needed this work to be done before peak season. With two high– rise towers and 400 units, the 97,000–gallon pool and 1,500–gallon Jacuzzi are focal points of the community. But the facilities had to be closed during the renovation, so a September time frame — when children were back to school and before the snowbirds arrived —


PHOTOGRAPHY BY GINGER MONTELEONE

was the best option. We estimated that the work would take five to six weeks to complete. Once the tile was removed, the problems were clear. While the extent of the damage was shocking, the solution was much simpler and less expensive than a defective pool beam. In about 50 percent of the pool's perimeter, the gutter ledge had cracked behind the tile, allowing water to seep out of the pool. This leak compromised the integrity of the concrete. We removed the defective materials and repoured the gutter ledge. Before installing the new tile, it was important to check the level of the pool at the gutter ledge. The east side of the pool was approximately one–half inch higher than the rest of the pool, causing inconsistent skimming of the pool water. It wasn't clear whether this problem was

a result of the original construction or settling, but simply adjusting the elevations brought all of the pool gutters to the correct level. In addition to the tile and gutter problems, there were approximately 301 feet of cracks in the pool floor's Diamond Brite surface. To seal these, we enlarged the cracks with saw cuts and applied hydraulic cement. The entire pool and spa were then resurfaced with “Cool Blue” Diamond Brite plaster and filled with filtered water. With the pool full and filtering, it was evident that the gutter level was perfect. But additional monitoring was necessary to insure that all of the leaks had been addressed. While the pool water was being chemically balanced, we kept an eye on the water levels. There was no evidence of leaks. Not only had we successfully solved the

problem, the work had been done in record time. Instead of the five to six weeks we had estimated, we had assessed the damage and solved the problem in a mere four weeks — allowing the community to reopen their most popular feature earlier than expected. Duo was impressed. "It was a true pleasure to work with Neil Gates and his staff," said Ed Grayson, condominium manager. "The job was completed much sooner than anticipated or promised and went extremely smoothly." The little things did not go unnoticed. "Neil's staff kept the area around the pool clean at all times and made sure that we were informed of the day–to–day processes," Grayson said. "If all my vendors were this responsible, my life as a manager would be a lot easier."

SPRING 2013 Aquatic Leader Magazine  21


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A NATURAL ENHANCEMENT TO WATER SANITATION

BY CHRIS MARCANO

SPRING SPRING 2013 2013 Aquatic Aquatic Leader Leader Magazine  Magazine  23 23


It's About Enzyme | Maintenance Spotlight

I

t is indisputable: there is no more effective or economical way to kill and disinfect recreational water than good, old–fashioned chlorine. This was first discovered in 1887, when bleaching powder — calcium oxychloride, formed by reacting chlorine gas with lime — was added to swimming pools in an attempt to keep water clearer, for longer. Until that time, water was drained and refilled every few days, an inefficient and expensive process. Introducing chlorine meant that pools were easier to maintain. At the same time, educators and health professionals touted the value of swimming for physical fitness. Soon, the popularity of swimming pools boomed. By the early 1900s, waterworks engineers had mastered the use of chlorine with basic filtration, and the key elements of the modern swimming pool were set in place. The same basic principles of sanitation and filtration are still essential to safe pool and spa water today. It is easy to assume that, over time, chlorine technology has evolved as dramatically as pumps and filtration systems have through the years. In fact, the energy–efficient, computer– controlled automated filtration systems are nothing like the simple pump and filter originally introduced to recreational water. Chlorine is a different story. While there have been some efforts to improve chlorine over the last century, today's chlorine is very similar to the chlorine first used in swimming pools. Manufacturing methods have improved, along with the quality and solubility of chlorine. Cyanuric acid was introduced to extend the life of chlorine in swimming pool water. But these modern materials function as a source of hypochlorous acid (HOCI), which is the same active sanitizing

24  24 Aquatic AquaticLeader LeaderMagazine  Magazine SPRING SPRING2013 2013

agent from a century ago. The bottom line is that the chlorine from the turn of the century sanitized almost as effectively as the form available today. If chlorine itself cannot be further improved, how then do we continue to evolve and improve our swimming pools? Pumps and filters will continue to evolve, but it may be time to focus on the water itself. And the answer is enzymes. Enzymes are non–living protein molecules that create a catalyst when they come into contact with certain non–living organics. They literally speed up the biodegradation process and break things down faster. The waste from bathers and the environment that accumulates in swimming pools and spas is never–ending. Body oils, lotions, cosmetics, sweat, mucus and urine, along with environmental contaminants, like pollen, dirt and animal droppings, are just a few examples of non–living organic contaminants that perpetually pollute pool and spa water. These non–living organic–based contaminants produce combined chlorine and can account for up to 90 percent of the sanitizer demand of a pool's water. Traditionally, superchlorination is the first defense in the war with non–living organic contami-

nation. In this process, mass quantities of chlorine are used to shock or superchlorinate pool water in order to remove unwanted, non– living organic compounds from the water and destroy impurities and dissolved waste products and algae. Superchlorination also breaks apart the chemical bond that holds chlorine and ammonia and nitrogen together, an event called breakpoint. Breakpoint chlorination eliminates chloramines and other non–living organic waste that cause an increased chlorine demand. Reaching the breakpoint is an all–or–nothing reaction. If breakpoint is not reached, the problem will become worse. The problem with superchlorination is that when the chemical bond with ammonia is broken, free chlorine, nitrogen, water and inorganic chloride (salt) remain.


Because a high level of chlorine is toxic, swimmers cannot be in the pool during superchlorination. This means one of two choices: the pool must be closed during regular business hours or superchlorination is done overnight, requiring off–hour maintenance visits. But what if the root cause of the issue was addressed head on, rather than after the fact? If non–living organic contaminants could be removed before they caused problems, there would be less need to chemically treat the symptoms created by non–living organics. This is where enzymes take the lead. There are two types of enzymes available in the pool and spa industry today: manufactured enzymes and naturally occurring enzymes, also known as broad–spectrum enzymes. Both manufactured and broad–spectrum enzymes are naturally occurring. There are, however, major differences between the two.

Broad–spectrum enzymes are formed by specific fermentation and made up of a complex set of ingredients that yield thousands of various types of enzymes. The result is equilibrium or a balanced state. Using enzymes in a pool takes advantage of the fact that certain forms of enzymes react with certain things. For example, an enzyme that can attach itself to an oil–based contaminate will not attach itself to an ammonia–based contaminant. This is where the balanced state of the broad–spectrum enzymes has a clear advantage over their manufactured counterparts. Manufactured enzymes are isolated and often unbalanced when blended. This makes them effective on a very limited number of non–living organics (mostly fat and oil). Many manufactured enzymes can actually attack and break down other enzymes, leading to a decline in effectiveness and reliability. When it comes to pools and spas, the real benefit of a broad–spectrum enzyme is that it does a simple task very well. It is constantly breaking down the things that adversely affect the well being of a swimming pool.

Broad–spectrum enzymes bond to non– living, organic pollutants and begin to break them down into smaller pieces. The smaller components of the contaminates continue to be broken down, molecule by molecule, until they are reduced to their elemental building blocks, such as carbon dioxide and water. Not only is unwanted waste removed, but the non–living organic waste that accumulates on filters is dramatically reduced as well. Broad– spectrum enzymes can reduce the need to clean the filters by more than 50 percent, which cuts down on labor and greatly increases the performance of the pool’s filtration system. In addition, by working ahead of the non–living, organic pollutant problem, pool managers can avoid the need for superchlorination and the associated costs and issues that come with it. There is no doubt that chlorine is the key to swimming pool and spa health. Chlorine alone, however, may be as good as it’s ever going to get. Adding enzymes to the mix offers another layer of protection, while saving time and money. Sounds like a perfect match.

SPRING 2013 Aquatic Leader Magazine  25


In the Neighborhood | Location Spotlight

In the Neighborhood A local Arizona pool company thrives in a harsh climate and connects with their community By Waylon Bennett

F

lying into Phoenix on a clear day, it's easy to spot one important characteristic that sets the desert apart from other regions of the country — a pool in nearly every backyard. Out west, warm temperatures make the family pool a necessity, not a luxury. But with blazing sunlight, year–round swimming and dramatic dust storms, it's a full–time job to maintain clean, blue water day after day. That's where Poolman comes in. The Arizona–based pool company has developed a clear understanding of what it takes to keep pools in tip–top shape. Maintenance technicians brave the intense, 100° weather, so that pool owners can take full advantage of their swimming pools and spas. In other parts of the country, pools are like boats — used and abused during the summer months, only to be “parked” for the winter. For these facilities, there is a clear opening and closing for the pool season. But in Arizona, pools are in service from January through December, keeping Poolman in action year–round. “Starting early in the morning is probably the most important part of our job,” says David Sweet, a regional manager at Poolman. “When you live and work in the Valley of the Sun, you'd better get an early

26  Aquatic Leader Magazine  SPRING 2013

start to your day.” The intense heat and non–stop sunlight not only mean tough working conditions but they also contribute to high levels of pool water evaporation. With an average high temperature of 102º in July, Phoenix pools suffer from extreme evaporation, putting a huge drain on water levels and chemicals. While other parts of the country also face evaporation problems, Phoenix’s dry environment and harsh heat make balancing pools in the Valley an even bigger challenge. Geography is important in other ways. Located in a dust bowl and surrounded by mountains, Phoenix is subjected to a monsoon season from June 15 through September 30. During this time, the area is susceptible to violent thunderstorms and dust storms. After a thunderstorm, winds can change direction quickly, pushing the airflow downward. When the downburst reaches the ground, the winds pick up silt and clay. Dust or sand storms (also known as haboobs) can include a wall of dust as many as 62 miles wide. The debris from these storms settles everywhere, including in swimming pools and spas. Monsoon season is especially challenging for a pool technician. These storms can add up to several inches of dirt to a pool. Of course with no off–season, pools


require year–round care. As a result, Poolman technicians really get to know their customers, becoming trusted members of the community. While families vacation during summer months, Poolman’s employees may be the only people who regularly visit the property, becoming like a personal neighborhood watch, taking note

when something is not quite right. Cleaning pools is a never–ending challenge in any environment. And it's also very rewarding. In Arizona, Poolman has cleared the region's geographic and environmental hurdles. In exchange the company has been rewarded with a loyal family of satisfied customers.

Close Ties

When a company forges a family–like relationship with its customers, remarkable things can happen. Here are just a few examples of how Poolman has gone above and beyond for its customers. An elderly customer was unexpectedly hospitalized, leaving his dog uncared for at home. A Poolman maintenance technician picked up the slack, purchasing dog food and feeding and watering the pup until a friend could take over. While visiting a commercial property, one of Poolman's CPR–certified commercial managers administered CPR to a club patron until emergency medical personal arrived.

Photography by Leah Vogely

On many occasions, Poolman employees have been on hand to alert customers a variety of issues and concerns, including house vandalism, property break–ins and even thefts. All companies lose customers. But when one Poolman property was forced to cancel their contract due to financial difficulties, the customer baked homemade banana bread for the pool tech, praising his work.


All Natural | Feature

T H E E M E RGE NCE OF NAT U R A L SW I M M I NG POOL S BY CHAD BREWER

I

n some settings, a sleek, traditional pool may not fit your vision. Enter the natural swimming pool, or NSP, a new trend in pool building. Hailing from Europe and now with proven viability in North America, the cost of natural, green or organic pools can be on par with conventional pools. Some are designed to replicate a more traditional pool, while others resemble a naturally occurring swimming hole. In fact, without the chemicals and machinery traditionally associated with swimming pools, a NSP is a self–cleaning, constructed wetlands ecosystem. But exactly how do natural swimming pools differ from their more traditional sisters? Let's take a look. While the top edging for commercial pools may be made of coping stones, brick or concrete, an NSP does not require that kind of formal look. Instead, soil may be tamped with a plate compactor to keep it from spilling into the pool, and the perimeter may be edged with wood or rocks to give it a natural look. Another option is to plant up to

28  Aquatic Leader Magazine  SPRING 2013

the edge of the pool. The root systems of the plants help prevent erosion and add to the swimming hole feel. A combination of carefully selected native or adapted aquatic plants should be used. Still, even a natural swimming pool can be built with a more traditional design, allowing for a wide variety of styles fitting various settings. Of course, filtration is vital for keeping a pool clean. Traditional filter systems depend on a pump that circulates the water through sand, paper or diatomaceous earth. This filtered water is then disinfected with chemicals, like chlorine or bromine, to keep it safe and sanitary. For an NSP, a plant zone around the edge acts as a natural filtration system, allowing swimming water to move through the area. When the water passes through the plants' root structure, bacteria remove contaminants. Microorganisms on the roots of the plants consume the bacteria and algae — eliminating waste buildup and clarifying the pool. To maximize this natural filtration process, at least

50 percent of the surface area of a NSP must be devoted to plant life. In other words, the plant zone should equal the size of the area devoted to swimming. Clearly, plants are a critical component of a natural swimming pool, and appropriate species will depend on climate. Water lilies are the most widely used, along with duckweed and potamogeton. Hornwort and elodea have a high oxygen output and are reliable submerged plants. A good mix of surface and under–water plant life helps maximize effectiveness. Local home and garden centers can help identify native plants. Algae are an expected inhabitant of natural swimming pools. But this single–celled plant can be relegated to the plant zone by simply including the right mix of flora that will use up resources the algae need to flourish. A pool vacuum or automatic pool cleaning system can be used to remove any unwanted algae from the swimming zone. Alternatively, in a conventional pool setting, humidity levels (raised by heated pools),


®

Images provided by BioNova Natural Pools

"A natural swimming pool can provide a beautiful swimming area that blends into the landscape." intense sunlight and chemicals can damage plants. Although plants are a popular and inexpensive way to beautify the landscape or prevent erosion, in a traditional pool, it can be challenging to keep foliage healthy and alive. Plumbing a traditional pool involves a suction port to circulate the water. To prevent a NSP from becoming stagnant, some are outfitted with a mechanical circulation system. This aeration gives the plants needed oxygen and helps move the water through the plant roots for filtration. While aquatic plants are excellent filters, they cannot remove all contaminants from the water. Basic precautions should be taken to ensure that the water stays as clean as possible. Infants and toddlers who have not been toilet–trained must wear proper swim attire, including water diapers and rubber pants, to prevent accidents. Anyone who is

sick or has open wounds should not enter a natural swimming pool. Natural swimming pools are designed for home recreational use, but commercial NSPs are now gaining popularity in North America. A public setting requires compliance with much more stringent codes, from the federal level to local health departments. Therefore, installing a natural swimming pool in a commercial site can require a more complex permitting process. However, municipalities are becoming familiar with NSPs and are making it easier for communities, organizations and businesses to choose a natural pool over a traditional one. Done properly, a natural swimming pool can provide a beautiful swimming area that blends into the landscape and reduce swimmers’ exposure to chemicals. Local professionals can offer help and guidelines.

SPRING 2013 Aquatic Leader Magazine  29


Reflections | Canada

Reflections / Canada By Howie Kirshenbaum

Superior Pool Office

Splash Pool Services T-Shirt

Superior Pool Team Members

A local community pool

Images courtesy of Superior Pool 30  Aquatic Leader Magazine  SPRING 2013

I

t was 1979, and Superior and I were both young. First known as Splash Pool Services, the company had been on the scene for only six years, carving out a respectable reputation in summer pool management. I was only 22 years old, with a year of university under my belt, hired as the company's general manager and first full-time employee. But I had a clear vision. When I came on board, the company was active only in the spring and summer months. My job was to work the phones and pound the pavement during the off– season. The idea was to turn Superior into a year–round pool management company, adding customers with indoor pools and spas and offering services to year–round pool operations. To succeed and move to the next level, we needed a competitive advantage. At the time, most residential buildings in Toronto were apartments. So we worked that angle, establishing relationships with landlords. They could see the benefits of hiring us and spread the word. We began getting more calls from other landlords asking for quotes. Leveraging the tight–knit landlord community was a smart move. Many were partners in each other’s buildings, but most importantly for us, they shared recommendations with one another. As long as we did a good job, year over year, we could count on renewals and additional work. At the same time, we grew our menu of services. Our clients became more reliant on us to look after the pool operations, which was generally an unpleasant task for them, especially as the local health department began inspecting pools more carefully. Not knowing exactly what was required of them, our clients relied on us to wade through the regulations and ensure their pools were in compliance. This approach was a huge success. In my first year with the company, our client base grew from 35 to 75 pools, and over the years our presence in the market continued to expand — even though our staff remained small. In 1982, I hired Bill Santos, the company's second full– time employee. While Bill managed daily pool services, I was able to focus on sales. Perhaps the most important ingredient leading to our success was branching out into swimming pool construction services. Steve Schechter was our first full–time service technician, marking our growth into construction and repairs. With a new service vehicle and a dedicated service technician, the company was positioned for expansion. Suddenly we were on site in different capacities, opening pools in the spring and closing them in the fall. We were no longer providing only lifeguards. Superior was on its way to becoming a full–service, one–stop pool company. This expansion had its challenges and was not an overnight success. Always trying to maintain their bottom line, landlords were inclined to open and close the pool themselves. It took many years to convince our customers that we could do this better, faster and at a lower price point. Today, Superior manages and services approximately 650 locations. Among our clients are apartment owners, condominiums, schools, community centers and residential backyard pool owners. Each of our customers are part of the Superior family, benefiting from our successes and experience in the field. But our past and present is a testament to our management team and our employees. Hard working, dedicated and loyal employees are at the heart of the Superior story. And in the last 40 years, more than 10,000 employees — from summer lifeguards to year–round managers and technicians — have been a part of the Superior team. Any company that has been in business for four decades is doing something right. Our success validates our philosophy — that honesty, hard work, perseverance and dedication are the cornerstones to good business. We are so proud of our achievements. As we look forward, the future looks bright! With exciting technological advancements, Superior can offer new opportunities for our team, further enhancing the services we provide for our clients. Here’s to another 40 years.

Howie Kirshenbaum Chief Executive Officer Superior Pool, Spa & Leisure, LTD.


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www.guardforlife.com

Trained, friendly and responsible — lifeguards have always been key to any poolside experience. Guard for Life recruits top lifeguards and matches them to your community. We like when everyone is happy, and this lifeguard from American Pool Management in New York is just that — happy and ready to help.

Photograph taken by Leah Vogely at the Montammy Golf Club, www.montammy.com.

Visit guardforlife.com to learn more.

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Aquatic Leader Spring 2013