Aquatics Blog

Kentucky Pool Regulations – CH Response

Scot Hunsaker with Counsilman – Hunsaker responded with comments to the Kentucky Department for Public Health regarding changes to the pool regulation.  A copy of these comments is listed below:

November 9, 2011

Ms. Kathy Fowler

Interim Director

Division of Public Health Protection and Safety

Kentucky Department for Public Health

275 E Main St, HS1CB

Frankfort, KY 40621

Re: Proposed Changes to Kentucky Pool Regulations

Ms. Fowler,

We appreciate the invitation to review and provide input on the proposed changes to the existing Kentucky Pool Regulations.

Since aquatics is all Counsilman-Hunsaker does, we have had the good fortune to work on close to 1000 projects over the 40 years our firm has been in business, including dozens of commercial pools in the State of Kentucky.  We have licensed engineers in all 50 states in the U.S. and we have several projects abroad as well.  That affords us the opportunity to work in many different jurisdictions and under many different codes and regulations.  Because of this experience, our expertise is often sought in helping to author new codes.  Counsilman-Hunsaker currently takes a leadership role in industry organizations such as the NSPF and the development of regulatory standards such the Model Aquatic Health Code which is sponsored by the CDC and will be released nationally in the coming months.

Unfortunately, we will not be able to attend the November 16th meeting, but we respectfully submit the following comments on the current draft for your consideration.

1)      902 KAR 10:120, Section 2(46): “Multiple Use Pool” means any pool designed for multiple activities which may require different turnover rates depending upon the activity.

902 KAR 10:120, Section 9(2)(a): Specialty Pools, Water Slides, Handicap Pools; Wave Pools; Lazy Rivers, waterslide rides, and waterslides equipped with spray features supplying additional filtration and disinfection for those specific spray features [shall have a turnover of] 30 minutes or less.

902 KAR 10:120, Section 9(8)(c): Multi-purpose pools shall have main outlets provided in each segment of the pool with a different turnover rate.

Comment: It’s benefical to see that “multiple use” pools are being defined.  More and more jurisdictions are beginning to take a “zoned” approach to required turnover.  This seemed to be the direction the Department was taking with the definition from Section (2)(46) and Section 9(8)(c).  However, this appears to conflict later in the draft in the turnover section (Section 9(2)(a)).  There is no stipulation in that section for multiple use pools.  If a pool has 8 lap lanes and modest leisure water (such as a vortex), it’s recommended that the lap area is held to the 6 hour minimum requirement, and the vortex to the 1 hour requirement.  This seems to be the direction the Department is heading, however it’s not explicitly stated in the turnover section.

2)      902 KAR 10:120, Section 2(62): “Spa" means a special facility designed for recreational and therapeutic use.

902 KAR 10:120, Section 2(62): Common terminology for a spa includes, but is not limited to, "therapeutic pool,”

902 KAR 10:120, Section 2(73): “Therapy pool” means a pool which is designed and intended for the use of persons requiring physical rehabilitation, activity, exercise, or training as prescribed by licensed medical personnel.

902 KAR 10:120, Section 9(2)(a): Wading Pools, Spas, Therapy Pools and Spray Pads [shall have a turnover of] 30 minutes or less.

Comment: With our aging population and the baby-boomer generation approaching retirement, the therapy user group is the fastest growing user group in aquatics today. Based on our experience in aquatic design, therapy pools are specialty bodies of water and it is a disservice if they are not viewed and regulated as such.  Interpreting therapy pools as spas is problematic.  This viewpoint is consistent with ANSI as well as other state codes across the country.

Therapy pools are often considerably larger, deeper, have much lower operating temperatures, and have a much smaller concentration of bathers when compared to spas.  Spas should be regulated aggressively with quick turnovers and frequent dumping / refilling due to the high temperatures and heavy organic loading.

Therapy pools are often operated between 88 and 91 degrees for most general therapeutic activities and classes which is a much closer operating temperature to conventional recreation pools (often operated at 86 or 88 degrees) than it is to 104 degree spas.

The Department has required recently that therapy pools be treated and operated as a spa with conventional maximum exposure times of 15 minutes being enforced.  While this is advised for 104 degree spas since they are often operated above the average human body temperature of 98.6 degrees resulting in increased body temperatures due to heat transfer, the normal operating temperatures being discussed for the therapy pool will be several degrees less than this and should therefore not be of the same concern or enforcement.

It should be noted that the following water temperatures are recommended by leading national agencies for various therapy activities.

Types of Aquatic Therapy Recommended Water Temperature Comments
Resistance Training 83 – 86 degrees
Therapy and Rehabilitation 91 – 95 degrees For certain activities, the temperature may be as low as 87 degrees
Multiple Sclerosis 80 – 84 degrees Warmer water can cause adverse effects
Arthritis 84 – 90 degrees Arthritis Foundation min/max ATRI low function program
Fibromyalgia 86 – 96 degrees ATRI
Water Aerobics 84 – 88 degrees
Obesity 80 – 86 degrees

It is Counsilman – Hunsaker’s recommendation to consider separating the therapy pool design protocol from the spa.

3)      902 KAR 10:120, Section 8(4)(a): On all facilities other than beaches, the depth of the water shall be marked plainly [at or] above the water surface on the vertical wall of the facility [if possible] and on the horizontal edge of the deck next to the facility. Depth markers shall be placed at the following locations:

Comment: By removing "if possible" vertical markings are now required for all perimeter overflow design conditions.  For deck level gutters, and perhaps for some rollout gutters and skimmers where there is not enough freeboard to get 4” high minimum markings completely above the normal operating water level, other provisions will need to be made.  This will likely require markings around the perimeter wall of the natatorium or fence for outdoor pools.  Oftentimes, the natatorium wall or fence at an outdoor pool could be 20 to 50 feet or more away from the pool and it can be argued that it’s not intuitive for swimmers in the pool to look for and see markings at these types of perimeter enclosures.  If it’s deemed important by the Department to have vertical depth markings for all pools, I would ask that markings be allowed just below the waterline which many times is easier to see and read for patrons in the pool.

4)      902 KAR 10:120, Section 8(4)(f): Dual purpose lap and swimming pools shall provide a safety line on all lanes when not in use for lap swimming.

Comment: This new requirement is a little confusing.  Perhaps it might read more clearly if the word “on” was replaced with “across.”

5)      902 KAR 10:120, Section 9(2)(a): Any pool or bathing facility equipped with spray features not providing additional filtered and disinfected water to the spray features [shall have a turnover of] 30 minutes or less.

Comment: I’m not entirely clear on what this is intended to require.  Will the Department be requiring leisure pools that may have spray features (such as a mushroom or bubbler feature) require 30 minute turnovers?  Or perhaps will an inline chlorinator be required for each spray pump?  The latter was a standard in the State of Ohio, but with their recent code revisions, they have taken a step back stating that as long as 2 ppm chlorine levels are measured at the spray features, this would satisfy all requirements.

6)      902 KAR 10:120, Section 9.(2)(b): The pump or pumps shall supply the required recirculation rate of flow to obtain the turnover rate required at a total dynamic head of at least:

1. Fifty (50) feet for all vacuum filters;

2. Seventy (70) feet for pressure sand or cartridge filters; or

3. Eighty (80) feet for pressure diatomaceous earth filters.

Comment: Request that a provision or clause be placed in the code that would grant variance from these minimum TDH requirements if it can be properly demonstrated that the pump is knowledgably and properly designed?  For instance, there will be many pressure sand recirculation systems that only require 55 or 60 ft TDH, especially if a booster pump is provided for the pool heating loop.  By artificially inflating this TDH requirement to 70 feet (in the case of pressure sand), the pump is not going to be nearly as efficient as it’s designed to be and will cost the end user unnecessarily in energy consumption.

7)      902 KAR 10:120, Section 9(3): Water heaters shall be installed at all spray pads and indoor swimming and bathing facilities.

902 KAR 10:120, Section 9(3)(g): Heaters for indoor swimming and diving pools shall be capable of maintaining an overall pool water temperature between seventy-six (76) degrees Fahrenheit and eighty-four (84) degrees Fahrenheit;

902 KAR 10:120, Section 10(6): Temperature. The water temperature for indoor swimming and bathing facilities other than spas shall not be less than seventy-six (76) degrees Fahrenheit nor more than eighty-four (84) degrees Fahrenheit. The cabinet may allow variances from the above temperature limits for special use purposes as competition, physical therapy, or instruction of children. Variances may be approved if proof is presented showing that a variance from the temperature requirements is necessary for the special uses stated, and that the variance will not jeopardize public health.  Increased turnover rates may be required as a condition of the variance.

Comment: These prescriptive temperature requirements for all indoor swimming pools are not consistent with industry standards.  The Kentucky State regulations require all pools that are not spas to be maintained between 76 and 84 degrees.  Most leisure or recreational based pools, and dedicated diving pools are operated at temperatures between 84 and 88 degrees (refer also to the comments pertaining to therapy pools in item #2).  In the past, the Department has stated that these prescriptive temperature requirements are in place for sanitary purposes.  However, 40% or more of the aquatic facilities are outdoor recreation pools installed across the state that are not cooled in the summer time.  Since those recreation or leisure pools are mostly comprised of shallow water, the water temperature likely exceeds 90 degrees on warm summer afternoons.  In our opinion, which is consistent with industry standards, the sanitary concerns for these types of pools is best addressed by increased turnover which it appears the Department is lobbying for (refer to item #1); not by regulating water temperatures.  It is Counsilman – Hunsaker’s recommendation to address the health concern through increased turnover rates and not a temperature requirement.  This will provide consistence in the code for both indoor and outdoor facilities.

8)      902 KAR 10:120, Section 9(7)(b): Flow meters shall be provided on individual spray feature supply lines to ensure manufacturer flow specifications are not exceeded.

Comment: Would the Department be receptive of alternatively allowing posted pump curves next to each pump in lieu of flow meters?  Determining flow rate based on the gauge readings and pump curve is relatively easy to do.  If flow meters are required, a straight pipe run of 15 pipe diameters is typically required to get accurate readings.  For non-recirculation pumps, there is typically only a minimal amount of pipe available.  This requirement will likely have a significant capital cost as a result of increased mechanical spaces and pipe runs.

9)      902 KAR 10:120, Section 9(11)(c): Each [The] surface skimmer shall be piped individually back to the equipment room and [piping] shall have[ both a trimmer valve and] a separate valve in the equipment room to permit adjustment of flow;

Comment: To my knowledge, this requirement will be unique to the State of Kentucky and is not required by any other jurisdiction in the U.S.  If a ball valve is required for each skimmer line, could this be located adjacent to each skimmer in the deck as an alternative.  I presume that the intent of these valves is to throttle the suction from each skimmer.  This can be achieved (arguably more effectively) from the deck, rather than in the mechanical room which doesn’t offer visual observation of the pool in most instances and won’t provide accurate flow measurements.  Each individual skimmer line can then be joined to a common loop and taken back to the recirculation pump as one line which is industry standard.  As written, this section will have significant cost implications with addition pipe.  This is not consistent with the countries sustainable design approach of minimizing material usage.

10)   902 KAR 10:120, Section 9(13)(a)(9): Multiple filters shall be provided with a valve for flow control and a flow meter to ensure equal distribution through the filters.

Comment: To my knowledge, this requirement will be unique to the State of Kentucky and is not required by any other jurisdiction in the U.S.  Many large commercial pools have multiple filter tanks that are joined by common face piping for filtration and backwash control.  How is it intended that each filter be configured with a flow meter with proper spacing for accurate readings (see comment #8)?

Please feel free to contact me should you have any questions.  We appreciate our strong working relationship with the Kentucky Department of Health and look forward to working together for many years to come.


D. Scot Hunsaker

President / CEO



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