July 13, 2018

Pools are complicated! – Gore Meadows CC&L

I recently had the opportunity to assist in the coordination of pool equipment training at Gore Meadows Community Centre in Brampton, Ontario. Phase 2 of this construction project, an aquatics & fitness centre, includes in particular an 8-lane lap pool, a leisure pool including aqua-therapy and special features such as a waterslide and teaching steps. On the surface these bodies of water provide an escape from the extreme heat outside and a source of entertainment and competition, but what is often overlooked is the complexity of what is, on the surface, a “simple pool”. Over the course of training, my appreciation for the amount of work and equipment involved in the upkeep of these systems grew exponentially.

Each pool has main return drains on the floor for circulation through the filtering system. As well, around each pool perimeter there are trough returns with nosings on the pool edge. These troughs capture any spillover from the pool to the deck, the nosings being there to prevent the larger particulates from returning to the pool. To maintain water levels, balancing tanks are used to hold and re-introduce overflow as people enter and exit the pools. Following that, filter strainers remove debris and sand filters further purify the water. As the sand filters gather particulates, the pressure to pump water through them increases to the point where they require backwashing. This involves pumping pool water through the sand filter to rinse all dirt and debris out, discharging the water out of the system. Fresh water is then re-introduced into the system to make up the water lost during the backwashing process, first filling up the balancing tank and then the pools themselves.

The pool water condition is maintained through the use of a water controller, UV unit, chlorine system and CO2 system. The water controller reads the chlorine levels, pH levels, temperature and flow rate of the pool system, providing alarms when something is out of range and general information used in daily maintenance. The ultra-violet sanitizing system is installed just after the filtration system and utilizes a UV sanitizing lamp enclosed in a quartz glass sleeve to bombarding the passing water with germicidal UV rays destroying waterborne pathogens. These rays also prevent the formation of chloramines which are the common cause of stinging eyes, skin irritation and allergies. Chlorine is added through a system which houses chlorine pucks in a container with a pump that splashes passing water up onto the puck, dissolving it and introducing chlorine as necessary. To control pH levels, an automatic carbon dioxide feed system has been installed. When the pH rises above the setpoint, the system injects CO2 into the system. This reacts with the water to create carbonic acid, lowering the pH level.

To continue would be to discuss the heating system, sump pump / pit control and emergency features, but I believe that though these are important to the function of the pool, they are not full of “flashy” substance like UV sanitizing lamps and return water troughs. Instead I will close with the tireless efforts of the staff entrusted with this centre. With temperatures in the high 30’s, a team of 11 building operators attended 2 comprehensive days of training with the attention and enthusiasm of kids in a waterpark. Following this training session, many stayed to discuss more in-depth scenarios with the manufacturing representative, asking questions and interrogating him thoroughly about troubleshooting techniques. Though they are seldom seen by the patrons of the building, their work allows this facility and others like it to be enjoyed to its fullest extent.

Many thanks to John Kabin, the representative of Acapulco Pools, for his extremely thorough training sessions. Acapulco Pools was the installing contractor for all pool equipment at Gore Meadows Community Centre & Library and they can be reached at

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