Swimming Pool Operations and Management

Some may wonder why it is necessary to have a discussion of swimming pools in housekeeping section.

Shouldn’t the pool be under the purview of the maintenance department? It should be remembered that the classical matching principle of accounting requires that expenses be related to the revenue being generated by a specific department.

The maintenance department is normally responsible, and is budgeted for, the repair and maintenance of a facility, not the management of an operating department. Should there be a breakdown in the physical operation of the pool system, water leaks, or mechanical breakdowns of the filtering or chlorinating systems, such repairs should be made by the maintenance department.

Otherwise, the day-to-day operation of the pool should come under some operational subdepartment associated with rooms operations and revenue. Because the main task demanding most of the employee wage dollar-hours is generated by keeping the pool area clean and supplying guest services, operation and management of the pool and pool area will usually come under the domain of the housekeeping department.

In very large pool systems it is possible that an operating engineer be assigned to nothing else but the mechanical systems of the swimming pool, but this is usually an exception. Most pool operating functions are organized under the overall responsibility of the executive housekeeper, assisted by a senior lifeguard or pool supervisor who will oversee the total operation of the pool and surroundings as further assisted by a staff of lifeguards or pool attendants. The difference between the lifeguard and the pool attendant is explained later in this article.

Components of a Swimming Pool System

Although no two swimming pool systems are exactly alike, most are designed with certain generic operating requirements. The following 13 components are usually present in any system, and understanding their purpose and operation can help the reader visualize how the first three objectives mentioned earlier are attained.

It includes the various components listed here:

Water Inlets—Plumbing jets where filtered water enters the pool.
Inlet jets direct the water in a counterclockwise motion around the pool.
Skimmers—Water-level basket holders with plumbing leading water out of the pool into the internal piping system leading back to the filters.
Fill water must be regulated to keep the pool water at the optimum level; otherwise, a low water level will cause air to be drawn into the closed liquid loop and the circulating system will cease to operate.

Skimmer Baskets—These are catch baskets designed to fit into skimmers where surface debris can be caught and removed from water.

The counterclockwise circulation of the surface water will cause most debris to pass into one or more of the skimmer baskets.

Baskets holding the debris can be lifted out and emptied periodically.

Main Drain—Located at the bottom of the deepest point in the pool, drains debris off the bottom of the pool, or can be used to drain the pool entirely, if necessary.

Drain Manifold—Collects water from all drain lines returning water from the pool to the filter.

Manifold has a regulating valve on each line for controlling the volume of flow from each returning line. Valves are usually adjusted to regulate an even flow through each skimmer with a partial flow through the main drain.

Main Trap—May be opened and the trap basket emptied of any debris that was missed by the skimmer baskets (small rocks, etc.), before water enters the pump.