NSPF's Tom Lachocki Weighs In On Superchlorinating

photo of a mailboxI read your June Making Waves editorial and your article, "Is Superchlorinating The Best Way To Eliminate Chloramines" and am compelled to be one of the many who have responded to this article. I will focus on clearing up several technical inaccuracies about the CPO (Certified Pool/Spa Operator) certification materials and program.

Here is a short list of the article inaccuracies:

There is no such thing as a "CPO manual." People who call it this are using jargon and are inaccurate. The National Swimming Pool Foundation publishes the NSPF Pool & Spa Operator Handbook (Handbook) that is used by instructors who teach the CPO® certification course and by thousands of students and industry professionals.

The article states that "The standard procedure for dealing with chloramines is laid out in black and white in the CPO [certification] manual: You blast (shock) it with high doses of chlorine - 10 times the measured amount of chloramines - and take care of that."

The article also offered surprising comments from my friend and a man I greatly respect, Ed Lightcap's stating that "If you take the CPO [certification] class and become CPO certified you will learn that the remedy for a build up of combined chlorine is superchlorination."

For the last seven years the Handbook has deemphasized the vague and ambiguous term "shock." The Handbook, "in black and white", does describe the two types of "shocks" according to EPA guidelines. Some "shocks" also deliver disinfectant to the water. Others are "oxidizing shocks" that do not provide disinfectants, but oxidize contaminants in the water.

I am pretty sure we don't use the word "blast" anywhere in the Handbook. The first five people who read the Handbook and find "blast" anywhere in the Handbook, I will send a free NSPF book of your choice.

The 2007 World Aquatic Health Conference featured a day-long symposium on Disinfection By-Products (DBPs). This symposium in part reported the NSPF-funded research with Dr. Blatchley and Dr. Li at Purdue University (to which you refer in the article).

The 2009 edition of the NSPF Pool & Spa Operator Handbook included a rewrite of the "Pool & Spa Water Problems" chapter to address the research findings of Dr. Blatchley and his team. The revised chapter listed and explained five methods to remove combined chlorine from water:

1) Water Replacement, 2) Breakpoint Chlorination, 3) UV Systems, 4) Ozone, and 5) Indoor Air Handling.

I believe the NSPF Pool & Spa Operator Handbook was the first industry educational manual that describes the difference between organic and inorganic chloramines. By the way, NSPF has spotlighted Dr. Blatchley's research and other scientists who have been investigating DBPs at a number of the World Aquatic Health Conferences. Those seminars are available to be viewed online for anyone who wishes to learn more about their research.

Three years ago, National Swimming Pool Foundation changed and updated information about the "breakpoint" method described in the 2008 Handbook - and other NSPF educational materials - to reduce the dosage of chlorine in the 2010 Handbook.

The ratio is still 10:1 of Free to Combined Chlorine to give slight excess as required for the inorganic chloramines to completely react. We reduced the chlorine dosage by subtracting the existing free chlorine from the amount that is added to minimize the risk of disinfection-by-product formation and using excess chlorine. Also the slightly lower level is needed due to some organic chloramines in the water. Unfortunately, inexpensive practical ways to measure organic chloramines is not readily available. Entrepreneurs - there is money in them there hills to the prospector who finds an accurate and precise "organic amine/amide" method.

AQUA is an exceptional trade periodical. We feel very fortunate that the editorial team has great passion for improving our standards and elevating our industry. The hundreds of National Swimming Pool Foundation Instructors and staff share that commitment.

We are so much in line with protecting people and thus helping more people live healthier lives, we put our money where our mouth is. A portion of the green that comes from the "black and white from the Handbook" has funded over $ 3.7 million dollars in research to resolve many key issues in our field. So if industry members are thinking of helping shape our industry's future, enroll in a CPO certification course, learn from the most cutting edge science based information in our field at the World Aquatic Health Conference, and be a part of a brighter future.

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