Understanding the Model Aquatic Health Code: Facility Operations

In Blog by David JerkinsLeave a Comment

In today’s post, we’ll be looking at some of Section 6.4.1 Operations, starting with the first paragraph. (If you missed the intro to this series, click here.)

6.4.1.1.1 Develop The facility design consultant can provide valuable assistance with preparation of a manual based on their knowledge of the physical system. The facility owner/operator must provide their preferences for operation and maintenance activities, based on location, climate, programs, budget, etc

Create Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for your facility. What should staff do in the case of an incident like fecal contamination? Who are the technical contacts for any repair? What are the operating procedures for each piece of equipment? What chemicals are approved for which bodies of water?

These should be tailored for your facility. SOP is important to consistent operation of a large facility. Without it, misunderstandings could occur. One party may believe staff are being trained a certain way, and another differently. SOP gives all parties a common document to refer to for procedure, so all departments are on the same page.

The MAHC has a great list of documents that should be kept in the operations manual. An example of some of the information include, but are not limited to the following:

Safety Related Info

One of the most important sections of any manual. What signs are always required to be present? Where should these signs be located at? What should staff do in the case of a thunderstorm? What is the emergency evacuation route?

Aquatic Venue Info

Here would be listed all pertinent information for all bodies of water, including flow rates, turnovers, volume, what is the pool made of, etc. There have been operators that are not sure what their turnover rate should be and having it in the manual dispels any questions.

Chemical Data

An approved list of chemicals should be kept. Any equipment that feeds chemicals should be noted here as well. Chemical supplies: How much of each chemical should be on hand. Chemical storage: How and where should each chemical be stored. Safety procedures related to chemicals can be kept here as well.

Facility Operation Info

This section holds regular maintenance information. Seasonal cleaning, vacuuming schedule and guidelines, backwashing procedures, pump room cleaning procedures and schedules, etc.

Maintenance Instructions

Procedures for each piece of equipment. As an example, if there is a UV present, all maintenance items related to that would be kept here. How to change the lamps, how to clean it, etc. TMI offers operator procedures that can be included here for common maintenance items on TMI equipment.

The manual should have the specifications for all equipment, water, staff, etc. Water treatment goals, the range of chemical targets for each body of water, the pressures on any gauges, flow rates on any meters, what training any staff role should have, etc.

6.4.1.4 Illness and Injury Incident Reports Aquatic injuries and illnesses can occur after normal office working hours; therefore, a 24/7 system for reporting and responding to injury and illnesses at AQUATIC VENUES must be maintained. Early reporting and intervention could reduce the spread of illness or prevent additional injury.

Always have a system for staff to report any incidents that may occur. All staff should be trained in what to do in the event of any illness, accident, etc. The operations manual should include a response plan, detailing the steps that should be followed. If staff are unsure how to handle a situation, this could cause a delay in the reporting of critical situations.

A Body Fluid Contamination Response Log should be maintained. Anytime a body fluid spill occurs, this log should be updated with the actions taken. The MAHC has a sample log that can be used for a manual.

Maintaining SOP will save a large facility money in the long run. Consistent operations means less repair or failure of equipment because the staff are trained properly in maintaining it. Several chemical incidents can irreparably damage equipment. It means the water quality will always be the same, leading to more happy swimmers and positive reviews. Improper chemical usage can lead to poor water quality. It means happier staff because they know what to do in most situations. It means a facility that is safer and more prepared.

Is there a particular section of the MAHC you would like to see discussed here? Leave a comment below or send us an email.

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