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Recreational Waters - Commonly Asked Pool Questions

Q. What are the required levels for pH and Chlorine?

A. pH is 7.0 to 7.8, Chlorine is 1 to 8 ppm (parts per million).

Q. How do I dispose of old pool chemicals?

A. Questions concerning disposal of chemicals should be referred to the Bureau of Land and Waste Management (803) 896-4000. Some municipalities and water treatment facilities may be willing to take expired HTH to use in their treatment procedures.

Q. How do I keep chlorine/bromine levels within the required range between absence of swimmers and full bather load?

A. Maintaining a free available chlorine residual between 1.0 and 8.0 ppm should be attainable if proper monitoring is conducted. If you anticipate a high bather load, simply monitor and adjust as needed. Even extreme bather loads should not decrease the halogen level to a point of being out of compliance unless routine monitoring is not conducted properly.

Q. What is the lifeline requirement when I have lap swimming and children in the pool at the same time?

A. According to Reg. 61-51, if lap swimming is taking place, it is fine for the lifeline to be removed. If there are children swimming in the pool at the same time that lap swim is taking place, it is recommended that the line be in position in the children's swimming area. The lifeline must be replaced as soon as lap swimming is over.

Q. Shouldn't rescue tubes be a mandatory part of the life saving equipment at all pools since lifeguards are trained with them?

A: Rescue tubes are only required at pools where lifeguards are required (type A and E facilities).

Q. My spa's automatic controller digital readout is given as an oxidation reduction potential (ORP) level instead of a parts per million (PPM) level. How do I equate the two readings?

A. Generally experts recommend that an automatic controller's ORP level be set between 650 mV and 750 mV. However factors such as system calibration accuracy and other water chemistry parameters (cyanuric acid levels) may affect the ORP readings. If you have specific questions about your controller and its ORP readings, contact a qualified pool or spa service representative. Please remember that an automatic controller does not take the place of the required daily sampling with a test kit.

Contact the Recreational Waters Program Manager  


Bureau of Water . Phone: (803) 898-4300 . Fax: (803) 898-3795 . Contact Us