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APSP shelves residential water quality standards

Amid vehement objections voiced by service industry professionals and others, proposed residential water quality standards were stopped at the APSP Recreational Water Quality Committee meeting at the Western Pool and Spa Show on March 8. 

Committee members announced that the original residential water quality standard, APSP 10, which would have restricted chlorine levels and set requirements for pH levels, had been removed from consideration.

Instead, RWQ members proposed adding the water quality language from APSP 10 to an existing swimming pool construction standard, APSP 5, which is currently up for revision. Specifically, the standard would have set minimum and maximum chlorine levels between 2 to 4 ppm at all times, and pH between 7.2 and 7.8. It was proposed that this language be added to the revised APSP 5 swimming pool construction standard. 

Proponents for the residential water quality standard argued that the added language improves safety for bathers in backyard swimming pools. 

Dr Joeseph Laurino, RWQ chairman, was in favor of the measure, and cited concerns about asthma, water-related illnesses, as well as overexposure to chemicals as the motivating factors behind the standard. 

But in addition to RWQ committee members, the meeting was also attended by pool service professionals and others, there to voice their objections to the standard. 

Mark Wilson, CEO of HASA, a leading liquid chlorine manufacturer, said that in his decades of work within the pool and spa industry, he has faced only one incident related to chlorine exposure, and it was a direct chlorine inhalation accident outside of a swimming pool. He said the standard was unnecessary and ridiculous. 

Other speakers included Que Hales of onBalance, Gary Crayton, CEO of Bay Area Pools and Spas, and Jerry Wallace, president of Swim Chem Inc, and CPSA Chairman. They said that the standard would be a job killer, arguing that the proposed levels are not realistic for once weekly service calls. They said that the language was inappropriate in a swimming pool construction standard and further, that the standard was unenforceable, except in a court of law. 

Members of the news team, Service Industry News, attended on behalf of service professionals who could not be present. The team compiled a list of questions received from concerned service professionals regarding the motivation behind, necessity and feasibility of, as well as the potential consequences regarding the implementation of water chemistry standards. 

Ray Arouesty, president of Arrow Insurance, voiced concerns about the unforeseen consequences about the proposed revisions. Stating that he is an advocate for the swimming pool service professional, Arouesty argued that the proposed standard could hurt his clients. He’s also concerned for his client’s customers.

“Pool techs tell me that this is an unattainable standard that will necessarily require that homeowners add chlorine between service calls. This opens the door to injuries to consumers that are untrained in the proper use of swimming pool chemicals,” Arouesty said 

Ultimately the committee determined to remove chemical standards from the construction standard, instead, inserting them in the appendix portion of APSP 5. 

Wallace said that the CPSA is appreciative that the APSP RWQC allowed them and other industry groups and individuals to share their views on this subject.

“By reaching out in this way they are getting a broader perspective and understanding of the opinions of its members and others in the industry as well as potential unforeseen consequences. The compromise path forward that was agreed to in principal will better serve all segments of our industry as well as all of our current and future customers. I look forward to further participation in seeing this to completion,” Wallace said

Ken Gregory, an APSP RWQ committee member, said that the industry needs to find a way to move forward in a way that doesn’t hurt itself while at the same time protecting the homeowner. 

Concerning the outcome of the RWQ meeting, Gregory said, “Kids do get sick in pools. And it’s a good thing that the industry is getting involved. A lot of times they don’t get involved until we have a tragedy. Let’s find a solution.”

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