Recently, word circulated that the Association of Pool & Spa Professionals was creating a new residential water quality standard, alarming many industry professionals. The organization says concern is premature and that much of the language already exists in standard or even law.

Last year, APSP’s Recreational Water Quality Committee (RWQC) began to explore the possibility of creating APSP-10 Residential Water Quality Standard. The group spent about 1½ years seeking data to determine whether the needs of residential water quality were discernibly different that those of commercial, said RWQC Chairman Joseph Laurino, Ph.D.

“Residential water quality is as important as public water quality,” said Laurino, also president/CEO of Periodic Products in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. “The reason why the organization wants to address it is because it deals with the safety of the bather ...”

While neither the association nor the RWQC made this public, word got out. Many saw the potential for regulation on the residential level and took issue.

Service professionals, in particular, worried that such a standard could expose them to liability if a problem should arise. Some worried that, if the standard required certain parameters to be maintained constantly, it would require more than the normal once-per-week service and scare some homeowners away from service completely.

They wondered who would enforce the standard in areas that adopt it, since home pools and spas generally are not policed.

Even some industry associations, including the California Pool & Spa Association, have already stated opposition to such a standard.

Laurino believes the alarm resulted from a misunderstanding. “Certain segments ... took that to mean that a standard was ready to launch,” he said. “[But] it never came out of committee — it’s still in the committee.”

The CPSA Board of Directors, in a letter to APSP, recognized that no standard language had been released yet, so there are no specifics to which to respond. “We are speaking right now against the need for such a standard,” the letter read. “Should this committee proceed to draft a document, CPSA will surely oppose [it].”

The group said the industry has built consensus on the key parameters, and promotes them through manufacturers and organizations such as the Independent Pool & Spa Service Association, and even APSP itself. “The availability of these parameters is well-known and documented,” CPSA said. “Is there some public health crisis that is driving this effort?”

The group also said it sees no benefit to the consumer. “Why would we want to create a standard that does not benefit the consumer and yet creates problems for our own industry?” the CPSA Board said. “We think we have plenty of that with governmental regulation.”

As head of a service firm, CPSA President Jerry Wallace wondered what would happen to those who employ anything besides the Langelier Index. “... The Hamilton index has been around a long time, and it advocates for a higher pH than what’s been advocated …” said the president of Swim Chem in Sacramento, Calif.

Laurino said the concerns are premature and largely based on misunderstandings. It did consider a separate standard but, for the time being, has chosen against it. Instead, APSP will update existing language about residential chemistry in its APSP-5 Standard for Residential Inground Swimming Pools. As with all APSP standards, the language will be released for public comment when it is ready.

There are other reasons APSP finds itself puzzled by the reaction. Residential-chemistry parameters have been included in APSP-5 for a few years now, Laurino said. Additionally, he said, only sanitizer and pH parameters are being addressed, as they impact swimmer health and safety. These parameters already are mandated by the Environmental Protection Agency in its Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act, he added.

The RWQC is meeting this week at the Western Pool and Spa Show, with non-members in attendance to gain further information and provide comments. Check and later issues for updated information.

More about CPSA
Find products, contact information and articles about CPSA
More about IPSSA (Independent Pool & Spa Service Assn.)
Find products, contact information and articles about IPSSA (Independent Pool & Spa Service Assn.)