Keeping maintenance logs when servicing commercial pools is one of those tedious tasks that has to be done, as it is often a regulatory requirement. However, the rules and regulations regarding service logs can vary greatly from one area to another, or even from one health inspector to another. “Every inspector is different and will grade differently,” says Jason Broswell, owner of Pool Service by Jason in Northridge, California. “There is no consistency across the board.”
Couple the inconsistency of inspector expectations with varying business practices, and you have a wide range of service log procedures. “Most areas covered by health inspectors want to see daily chemical and service logs,” Broswell says. “We keep records of our visits on spreadsheets that can be obtained on a shared file in Dropbox with the facility serviced. But our company only services two to three times a week [rather than daily], so our records reflect that.”
Doug Schaefer, owner and president of Unique Pool Management in St. Louis, says his company keeps regular records of chlorine and pH levels. When there’s an issue — such as a pool needing a backwash or having water balance issues — service techs will log extra details.
Who keeps the logs may also vary by business or municipality. Rick Woemmel, president of Bi-State Pool & Spa in O’Fallon, Missouri, says sometimes the choice of maintenance log keeper is not left up to the business owner.
The health department in Woemmel’s area dictates the owner of the aquatic facility is responsible for keeping service logs and that readings must be documented twice daily. Woemmel says facilities with lifeguards and attendants are typically the only ones keeping up with daily requirements, while Bi-State is only there one to six times per week.
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“In most instances, the owner needs to take ownership in pool maintenance, which is typically done with an on-site maintenance person,” Woemmel says. “We provide CPO training for our customers so they can have a basic understanding of pools.”
Different types of testing may require different log keepers, as is the case in Broswell’s business. “There are chemical controllers that log basic water chemistry,” Broswell says. “They do not log CYA, or calcium hardness, alkalinity, TDS or LSI. They only log temp, ORP and pH, which in some cases satisfies the health inspector.”
Broswell says the service technician records anything out of the ordinary — repairs, anything added to the water, backwashing, signs of leakage and equipment room or pool area hazards. This information is then passed to management, who forwards it through email to the pool facility director.
Of course, as Schaefer points out, traditional paper log books and water don’t really mix. With the world going digital in so many areas, it’s no surprise that pool maintenance logs are headed in that direction, too. Schaefer’s business uses in-house developed software to keep maintenance logs. Unfortunately, his county requires a physical paper log on site, so the company keeps those as well to meet regulations.
The maintenance records for Bi-State are also digital: Woemmel’s staff logs all readings into service notes, then emails them to the client. No matter the approach, maintenance logs play a vital role in the commercial pool industry. “We’re trying to always protect ourselves,” Schaefer says. “If I get a call from someone, and they say their kid was in this pool and got a rash, we immediately go to our logs…and 99 times out of 100, we can say, ‘I don’t think that you got the rash from the pool that day because the chlorine was fine and the pH was good. Per St. Louis County health code, the pool was fine that day.’ Usually, that snuffs that problem out immediately. If your logs are correct and you truly had chlorine in the pool, it’s hard to fight that.”