You are here:

Residential Swimming Pool Water Quality & Safety Information

Enjoy your residential swimming pool, but remember to keep the area safe. Comply with all local codes for pools.
  • Contact your insurance company for liability concerns on your property.
  • Monitor your equipment, chemicals and pool area for safety hazards.
Chemical Sanitizers:

The purpose of using disinfectants or sanitizers in a pool is to:
  • Eliminate the growth of bacteria, viruses, and other microbial agents.
  • Prevent the growth of algae.
  • Prevent the turbidity or cloudiness of the pool water.
There are several types of sanitizers available. Be sure that they can easily be used and that the levels can be checked by you. Too little sanitizer levels available will result in bacterial or microbial growth, and too much sanitizer can become toxic or cause health problems.

As well as the sanitizer, you will want to check the pH level of your pool water. The pH of a pool should rest between 7.2 and 7.8. The activity of the sanitizer can become less effective with a high pH (above 7.6). Algae growth is also encouraged with high pH levels. Eye and skin irritation can occur above and below the recommended levels of 7.2 to 7.8.

Two other compounds that should be checked when problems occur are alkalinity and the hardness levels of the pool water. The recommended levels to keep a pool water in balance is a reading between 80 and 120 for total alkalinity levels and between 120 and 400 ppm for hardness levels.

Cloudy Water:

Visibility of the bottom of the pool is very important for safety reasons. If cloudy water occurs, the water should be evaluated immediately. Some causes of cloudy water as follows. Alleviate the problem as soon as possible.
  • No sanitizer or very low levels. Algae or bacterial growth may cloud pool water.
  • High pH levels can cause cloudy water. It may also results in lowering the sanitizer effectiveness.
  • Chloramines can cloud pool water. Chloramines are formed when nitrogen wastes from swimmers react with the available sanitizer.
  • A high mineral level of Alkalinity, Hardness or Total Dissolved Solids will result in cloudy water. Check with a pool company for testing kits or monitor levels with them.
  • Inefficient or malfunctioning equipment can also cause high turbidity. Filters, pumps, and sanitizer feeders should be checked frequently for proper operation. If there is no circulation or filtration occurring, the pool water will soon become a stagnant pond.
Safety Checklist:

  • Provide adult supervision whenever pool is used by children or teens. Most pool accidents occur with unsupervised teens and children, during running or horseplay in area, or when alcohol or similar substances are used by the patrons.
  • Make sure recommended water quality levels are met. Chlorine residuals should be between .5 - 4 ppm. Bromine and stabilized (isocyanurates) chlorine levels should be between 1.0 - 4 ppm. pH levels should be 7.2 - 7.6 with the above sanitizer levels.
  • Keep pool sides and bottom clean. Be able to see the bottom of the pool at all times.
  • If main drains are in place, keep them secure in place and not broken.
  • Keep all equipment for filtration and circulation in working condition. Do not use the area if equipment is broken. Check heaters for proper working conditions as well (check water temperature).
  • Provide a test kit to check the water quality and use it regularly. Send pool water for a bacteria check periodically.
  • Follow township (or other) requirements for fencing around pool. It is recommended that at least a four foot fence in good condition is around the pool and deck area. Provide a self-closing gate and lock the area when not in use.
  • To prevent tripping accidents check the deck surface. Keep it free of all obstacles and pooling water (4-foot clearance around edge of pool for emergency personnel).
  • Keep all ladders, steps and railings secure and in good repair.
Provide the following recommended safety equipment:
  • An accessible phone and emergency numbers.
  • A ring buoy or other approved flotation device.
  • A reaching pole (must reach the center of the pool).
  • Someone who is knowledgeable of CPR.
  • Energy procedures designed to get EMS to the site quickly (written directions to the pool that can be read to a 911 operator).