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Acid / Sanitation Rooms – General Design

It is CH policy to always have acid and chlorine in their own spaces, separate from the main pool mechanical space. The primary reason for this is to provide a separation of basic and acidic chemicals. The fumes in the chemical rooms will attack the steel if they occupy the same space.  The primary pool chemicals are also distributed to their respective mechanical systems.  Storage closets also provide an additional layer of control.

The sanitization room should be sized for liquid chlorine with a double wall tank.  The room size must be based on liquid chlorine even if tablets are used.

Minimum chlorine room size:

  • For 200 gallon tank:  8’ x 8’ with one (1) 4’ man door
  • For 1,000 gallon tank:  8’ x 8’ with double 4’ man doors

Size the liquid chlorine tank at 3 ppm at the design flow rate for a two-week minimum to refill tank.  In remote areas and in the north, the minimum time to refill the tank could be four weeks.

Minimum acid room size:

  • For one (1) pool:  5’ x 7’ with one (1) 2’6” man door
  • For multiple pools:  8’ x 8’ with one (1) 2’6” man door
  • NOTE:  If both inside and outside doors are used, additional space must be allotted for a 3’ aisle.

Size the acid room for muriatic acid in carboys – even if bulk CO2 is to be used.

Lights, fixtures, switches, etc. that are placed in the storage rooms should be corrosion resistant.  With that said, the owner must be responsible for ensuring that lids on containers are closed.  Explosion proof fixtures are not required.

A safety shower and eyewash station should be placed in each of the acid and sanitation rooms. ANSI Z358.1 governs requirements for emergency eyewash and shower equipment in respond to OSHA 29 CFR 1910.151.c requirements. All flushing equipment must be in areas accessible to a user within 10 seconds of chemical spill (approximately 55 feet). Flushing equipment must be located on same level as the hazard with a clear path of travel. Doors are typically considered obstructions due to corrosive nature of acid and liquid chlorine.

For the most part, the Uniformed Building Code, International Building Code, and the BOCA agree that most natatoriums are considered A-3 occupancy.  It is requested that the architect confirm this assumption.  This distinction changes in institutional settings and health care facilities.  The adjacent mechanical spaces are required to have a 1 hour fire separation.

In regards to the chemical storage area, all three codes provide for the storage of “hazardous materials” within controlled areas. Some codes limit the amount of storage of chemicals in these spaces. See individual chemical requirements in design criteria for amounts. If the facilities have multiple bodies of water, it is beneficial for the architect to classify these areas as High Hazard group occupancy, especially if cal hypo is used as the primary means of sanitation. Some architects prefer this classification as they will design to such standards for longevity of materials in the acid room.

The IBC describes a high-hazard occupancy as one "that involves the manufacturing, processing, generation or storage of materials that constitute a physical or health hazard in quantities in excess of those allowed (described above)." High Hazard group occupancy ratings require sprinkler systems, non-combustible floors, storage containment requirements (included in our typical design) and fire ratings. These requirements can be found in the IBC and IFC.  These areas should also be vented by the requirements set forth in the International Mechanical Code (IMC).

In facilities that have more than one body of water, the exempt amount does not provide for an adequate supply of chemicals. Defining the storage rooms High Hazard group (H-2 or H-3) occupancy rating will allow for larger quantities of chemical to be stored.  An H-2 occupancy is required to store more than 200 lbs of calcium hypochlorite.

Other options that can greatly decrease building costs, regardless of the type of occupancy class of the storage space, are to locate all access to the spaces from the outside.  This decreases several concerns of code officials, and eases the delivery of pool chemistry, as well as eliminates a number of life safety issues.  Operators in colder climates will not appreciate having to exit the building to maintain these systems and a conversation is encouraged to get owner input in this decision.

It is very important that the architect contact local officials and get clarification about what approach best suits the situation.  Some officials are hypersensitive to chemical storage rooms, either because of mis-information, or from learned experience.

Table 1 - Occupancy rating by building code

OCP Natatorium  Dedicated Chemical Storage
1997  UBC A-3 H-3,H-4
2012  IBC A-3 H-3, H-4
1996 BOCA A-3 H-3 , H-4

Note: Building Occupancy may be different depending on specific project conditions.  Increased Occupancy load, primary building type, Educational or Institutional (for example) will affect the final determination of the Use or Occupancy group of which the Natatorium will fall under.

Table 2 - Required Fire Separation for Adjacent Occupancy

ADJ H-3 H-2 M-1 Mechanical Room
UBC  A-3 3hr 2hr 2hr 1 hr Separation
IBC   A-3 3hr 2hr 2hr 1 hr Separation
BOCA A-3 3hr 2hr 2hr 1 hr Separation

When emergency eyewash/shower units are required in the chemical rooms they will require a nearby floor drain to each unit (by others) – CH project manager to ensure chemicals are either located on a spill mount platform, in a double wall containment tank, or that the chemical tanks are located in a pit with a curb separating any potential spill from the floor drains. Fire Marshall will not otherwise approve drawings as chemicals are forbidden to wash to waste per: National Fire Code.

For hazardous chemicals, the EPA requires a secondary spill containment system.  This system must have sufficient capacity to contain at least 10% of the total volume of the primary containers or 100% of the volume of the largest container, whichever is greater.

Depending on the amount of hazardous chemical stored, the two or four drum modular spill platform by Eagle may be required.  As a minimum, Eagle’s two drum 30 gallon spill platform (model 1632) should be used.  If extra capacity is required, Eagle’s four drum 60.5 gallon spill platform (model 1635) or the deeper two drum 66 gallon spill platform (model 1620) should be used.  Note that the access ramp is not compatible with the model 1620.

When chemical storage rooms are to be accessible from within a parking garage, consideration should be given to the height of chemical delivery trucks, especially for bulk chlorine or bulk CO2 delivery.  According to the IBC, the minimum overhead clearance in a parking garage is 7 feet.  The typical delivery truck will exceed this clearance.  If possible, the CO2 fill box should not be located inside a parking garage.

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