Case Studies & Application Stories
TweetBalancing your pool water will keep your family and pool safe. It’s important to regularly check your pool to ensure your pool water has the proper alkalinity levels. Why lower the pool water alkalinity level? How-to-lower-total-alkalinity Although high total alkalinity does not cause severe damage to your pool equipment and surfaces as low alkalinity, alkalinity […]
Balancing your pool water will keep your family and pool safe. It’s important to regularly check your pool to ensure your pool water has the proper alkalinity levels.
Why lower the pool water alkalinity level?
Although high total alkalinity does not cause severe damage to your pool equipment and surfaces as low alkalinity, alkalinity levels need to remain balanced so as to reduce any unexpected maintenance costs that occur due to wear and tear of pool equipment, for instance reducing the pool pump efficiency because of plugged filters and decreased pipe flow from scale build up.
When swimming in a pool that has high alkalinity levels, you will often get skin irritations. The skin and hair will become sticky and your eyes may burn to some degree.
Controlling the pH level in a pool that has high alkalinity is difficult, as the cushioning properties of the water to withstand alterations in acidity increases. This means that if you want to adjust the pH levels in the water, you will have to use higher amounts of chemicals.
Maintaining well balanced total alkalinity levels in your pool is a crucial step in ensuring your pool water is healthy. Balancing the total alkalinity is one of the three different adjustments you need to also do so that you can balance your swimming pool water. The rest are calcium hardness and pH. Always adjust the total alkalinity first, except in situations where the pH is way below 7.0. If it’s below 7.0, get it to that level and then adjust the total alkalinity.
How To Lower Alkalinity In Pool Water
First things first….
Ensure you get the right pool size, more so the volume, as this is necessary in establishing the amount of chemical you need to add to your swimming pool. You want it to be in the mid range of about 80-120ppm (parts per million) for the total alkalinity off your pool.
There are two main chemicals that are available in lowering pool alkalinity. They are Muriatic acid and sodium bisulfate or dry acid.
How to lower total alkalinity with Muriatic Acid
NOTE: Muriatic acid is hydrochloric acid that’s slightly diluted. This acid burns the skin and eyes so you will need to wear protective clothing such as rubber gloves, goggles and an apron that’s long sleeved when working with this chemical.
1. Begin by testing your swimming pool water alkalinity level. You need to establish if the level is high and by what percentage
2. Switch off your swimming pool pump. Give your pool an hour so that the water stops circulating. You want your water to be totally still.
3. Carefully read the product label f you had not done that before. Establish how much you need to add according to the amount your level is over (in ppm) and the total volume of your swimming pool.
4. For Muriatic acid, you can either dilute it or pour it directly into the water. If you have a diving pool, do it at the deep end. Alternatively, you can pour portions in different sports especially if you have an above ground pool or a shallow pool. Ensure the stream is tight so that the acid flows deep into the water. You want it to get to the floor of your swimming pool.
5. Allow the swimming pool to sit for an hour and then turn your pool pump back on again.
6. Test your total alkalinity levels after about 6 hours or before 24 hours are over after adding the Muriatic acid to give the pool time to adjust to the chemical you have added.
7. If you check after two to three days and you realize your alkalinity levels have not dropped to the required levels, you can repeat the entire process. Sometimes, it may take several days for the total alkalinity to re-balance.
8. Ensure you also test your pH levels and adjust it if necessary. Sometimes it may drop.
How to lower total alkalinity using sodium bisulfate or dry acid
1. Start by first testing the pool water total alkalinity levels. By all means avoid strips as they may not give you accurate results. Instead use Taylor Lamotte drops based Total Alkalinity test if it’s possible. You may get this at your local home depot.
2. Switch off the swimming pool pump and give it about an hour so that the pool circulation stops.
3. After an hour get back to work. I hope by now you have read carefully the products label. If you have not, then you had better do so before you get started. If your level is more than 120ppm, then you will have to decrease the level to approximately 100ppm. Carefully read the label at the back of the product to establish how much of the product you need to add. In most cases, sodium bilsufate is usually 93.2% pure, so watch out for that percentage on the package you buy.
4. In a bucket of water, dilute the dry acid. Ensure the substance completely dissolves.
5. Go to the deep end of the pool and pour the dilute acid into the water ensuring the stream is as narrow as possible. A narrow stream penetrates both the upper part of the water and gets as deep as possible. This will help in preventing any disruptions of the pH level in the water.
6. Allow the pool to sit still for about an hour. Switch the pool pump on again after one hour.
7. After 6 hours, you can test again the total alkalinity level.
8. If you realize you need to bring down the level of alkalinity, dilute and add more dry acid. However, you should wait for about two to three days before doing this as the total alkalinity may decrease on its own somehow.
Maintaining the right levels of total alkalinity in your pool is one of the vital three water balancing procedures. As a pool owner, you should be able to test your total alkalinity and know how to decrease the level if it’s on the higher side. You should also know what chemicals are available to lower total alkalinity and how much to add into your pool depending on your pool size and the alkaline levels in the pool.
Reprinted with the kind permission of PoolUniversity.org, a good source of information on proper swimming pool care.
The TOP Pool Professionals use the Myron L PS9, which measures 9 Parameters: Conductivity, Mineral/Salts, TDS, Alkalinity, Hardness, LSI, pH, ORP/Free Chlorine, Temperature.
Tweet How To Lower Swimming pool pH Ensuring your swimming pool pH level is balanced is a vital part in swimming pool ownership. pH is what determines the water acidity. pH numbers range from 0 to 14 with the right swimming pool water pH being between 7.2 and 7.8. If the water goes above 7.0, […]
How To Lower Swimming pool pH
Ensuring your swimming pool pH level is balanced is a vital part in swimming pool ownership. pH is what determines the water acidity. pH numbers range from 0 to 14 with the right swimming pool water pH being between 7.2 and 7.8. If the water goes above 7.0, then it’s an indication that the water is becoming more alkaline.
What is the importance of an ideal pH level?
If the pH levels of your swimming pool water are too high, the water becomes too alkaline and it starts to form scale on the surface of the swimming pool and equipment. If the pH level is too low, then the swimming pool water is acidic. This causes corrosion on the swimming pool surfaces and the equipment in your swimming pool thus damaging them. To maintain a well balanced pH level in the swimming pool and avert some costly damages to the swimming pool surfaces and equipment, you will need to use chemicals to lower pH in swimming pool.
-How to lower the pH in your swimming pool
The first thing you need to do if you think that your pH levels are high is to test the swimming swimming pool PH. After you have determined the pH level, then you can start looking for ways on how to lower pH in swimming pool. High pH levels in swimming pool can be reduced with an acid. Some of the most common swimming pool acids are:
• liquid hydrochloric (muriatic acid)
• Dry acid (sodium bisulphate)
Sometimes they may be referred to as pH minus, pH decreaser and pH reducer. It’s important to know what chemical you are purchasing because the way you mix the chemicals is critical.
How to lower pH in swimming pool with dry acid (Sodium Bisulfate)
• Carefully read the instructions in the label since different manufactures have different percentages for sodium bisulfate. The most common percentage is 93.2%.
• How much acid do you need to add? This will depend on the results you got after testing you swimming pool water. We recommend that you add three quarters of what is recommended and then test later until you feel comfortable. The most important thing is that you do not add too much of it.
• Sodium Bisulfate often comes in powder form so you will want to avoid working with it on a windy day. If you live in an area that’s breezy, then you have no option. But you can try and add it downwind from you since you don’t want to spill the acid on your clothes or worse the skin.
• Get close to the level of water as you possibly can because the wind will easily blow the powder into the air instead of into the swimming pool.
• Pour the powder into your swimming pool at the water return jet sites. This is where the water will come into the swimming pool. Do not add the powder to the water at the inlet sights like the skimmer area. It’s important that the dry acid is evenly spread around the swimming pool so that it reaches all the corners.
• Give it about 5 to 15 minutes as it dissolves on its own completely. You will not need to spread the powder with your hands in the water.
• Allow the chemical to mix before you retest, but do not wait for more than 24 hours after you have added your last portion of dry acid.
Note: If you are lowering pH levels of above ground swimming pools, place the Sodium Bisulfate over the swimming pool wall. Since above ground swimming pools are often shallow than inground swimming pools, you may have to use your hands to spread the powder in the swimming pool so that it can dissolve faster.
If the manufacturer has recommended that the Sodium Bisulfate is first dissolved, follow that advice. This could be that the product may react quickly in the water reducing alkalinity levels thus affecting both the alkalinity and pH levels. Sodium Bisulfate will likely decrease your pH and alkalinity as well. You will need to test for both after you are done.
How To Lower Ph In Swimming pool With Muriatic Acid
• Always read the manufactures’ instructions first. This is one dangerous acid that can burn your skin and ruin your swimming pool surfaces if it’s not used properly. Ensure you also have the correct protective wear.
• Establish the needed amount of muriatic acid to add to your swimming pool based on the pH levels you have tested. You can add three quarters of what is recommended and then test the pH later on until you get the desired results of adding the chemicals to your swimming pool.
• The manufactures’ instructions may recommend that you dilute the muriatic acid first. Please follow these instructions.
• Although muriatic acid is liquid, you still don’t want to pour it into the swimming pool while facing the wind. Further, avoid pouring the acid into the filter basket or skimmer.
• There are two ways of adding muriatic acid into the swimming pool. Both of them are effective so it’s up to you to choose the one that you feel comfortable with. You can pour the muriatic acid in one continuous stream on one spot into the swimming pool.
While doing this, turn off the pump so that the acid hits right at the bottom and lowers the swimming pool pH without affecting the water at the top. You can turn on the pump after you have finished pouring the muriatic acid. The other way is to pour it into the water near the water return jets so that it’s evenly spread into the swimming pool. If you do not have a deep end, then you can pour on different areas of the swimming pool. You do not want to concentrate all the acid on one area of the swimming pool.
When adding any type of acid into the swimming pool, extreme care must be taken as ignorance can lead to serious burns. Before you can add the acid, ensure there is nobody swimming in the swimming pool or will use the swimming pool before four hours are over.
Make sure you first add acid to water, never add water to acid! If you plan to add large amounts of acid, do it slowly. Don’t add high acid amounts in the swimming pool all at once. If you pour in too much acid into the swimming pool at once, you may risk damaging the walls, corroding the pump fittings and pipes and lowering the total alkalinity of the water.
For accurate, reliable pH measurement, try the Myron L Ultrapen PT2 pH tester.
Reprinted with the kind permission of PoolUniversity.org, a good source of information on proper swimming pool care
TweetAnyone and everyone who is responsible for operating and maintaining a swimming pool or spa has to test, monitor, and control complex, interdependent chemical factors that affect the quality of water bathers are immersed in. Additionally, aquatic facilities operators must be familiar with all laws, regulations, and guidelines governing what these parameters should be. Why? […]
Anyone and everyone who is responsible for operating and maintaining a swimming pool or spa has to test, monitor, and control complex, interdependent chemical factors that affect the quality of water bathers are immersed in. Additionally, aquatic facilities operators must be familiar with all laws, regulations, and guidelines governing what these parameters should be.
Why? Because the worst breeding ground for any kind of microorganism is a warm (enough) stagnant pool of water. People plus stagnant water equals morbid illness. That’s why pools have to be circulated, filtered, and sanitized – with any number of chemicals or methods, but most frequently with chlorine compounds. However, adding chemicals that kill the bad microorganisms can also make the water uncomfortable, and in some cases unsafe, for swimmers. Additionally, if all the chemical factors of the water are not controlled, the very structures and equipment that hold the water and keep it clean are ruined.
So the pool professional must perform a delicate balancing act with all the factors that affect both the health and comfort of bathers and the equipment and structures that support this. Both water balance – or mineral saturation control – and sanitizer levels must constantly be maintained. This is achieved by measuring pertinent water quality factors and adding chemicals or water to keep the factors within acceptable parameters.
Water is constantly changing. Anything and everything directly and indirectly affects the relationship of its chemical parameters to each other: sunlight, wind, rain, oil, dirt, cosmetics, other bodily wastes, and any chemicals you add to it. Balanced water not only keeps swimmers comfortable, but also protects the pool shell, plumbing, and all other related equipment from damage by etching or build-up and stains.
The pool professional is already well acquainted with pH, Total Alkalinity (TA), and Calcium Hardness (CH); along with Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) and Temperature, these are the factors that influence water balance. Water that is in balance is neither aggressive nor oversaturated.
Aggressive water lacks sufficient calcium to saturate the water, so it is hungry for more. It will eat anything it comes into contact with to fill its need, including the walls of your pool or spa or the equipment it touches. Over-saturated water cannot hold any more minerals, so dissolved minerals come out of solution and form scale on pool and equipment surfaces.
The pH of pool water is critical to the effectiveness of the sanitizer as well as the water balance. pH is determined by the concentration of Hydrogen ions in a specific volume of water. It is measured on a scale of 0-14, 0-7 being acidic and 7-14 being basic.
You must maintain the pH of the water at a level that assures the sanitizer works effectively and at the same time protects the pool shell and equipment from corrosion or scaling and the bathers from discomfort or irritation. If the pH is too high, the water is out of balance, and the sanitizer’s ability to work decreases. More and more sanitizer is then needed to maintain the proper level to kill off germs. Additionally, pH profoundly affects what and how much chemical must be added to control the balance. A pH of between *7.2 – 7.6 is desirable in most cases.
*As one of the most important pool water balance and sanitation factors, pH should be checked hourly in most commercial pools. Even if you have an automatic chemical monitor/controller on your system, you need to double-check its readings with an independent pH test. With saltwater pools, pH level goes up fast, so you need to check it more often. Tests are available that require reagents and subjective evaluation of color depth and hue to judge their pH. But different users interpret these tests differently, and results can vary wildly.
Myron L’s POOLPRO™ gives instant lab-accurate, precise, easy-to-use, objective pH measurements, invaluable in correctly determining what and how much chemical to add to maintain water balance and effective sanitizer residuals.
Total Alkalinity (TA) is the sum of all the alkaline minerals in the water, primarily in bicarbonate form in swimming pools, but also as sodium, calcium, magnesium, and potassium carbonates and hydroxides, and affects pH directly through buffering. The greater the Total Alkalinity, the more stable the pH. *In general, TA should be maintained at 80 – 120 parts per million (ppm) for concrete pools to keep the pH stable. Maintaining a low TA not only causes pH bounce, but also corrosion and staining of pool walls and eye irritation. Maintaining a high TA causes over-stabilization of the water, creating high acid demands, formation of bicarbonate scale, and may result in the formation of white carbonate particles (suspended solids), which clouds the water. Reducing TA requires huge amounts of effort. So the best solution to TA problems is prevention through close monitoring and controlling. Myron L’s Alkalinity Test Kit comes with sodium hydrogen sulphate tablets and a mixing/measuring vial to determine alkalinity in parts per million.
The other water balance parameter pool professionals are most familiar with is Calcium Hardness (CH). CH is the calcium content of the water and is measured in parts per million. Low CH combined with a low pH and low TA significantly increases corrosivity of water. As the water becomes more aggressive, the solubility of calcium carbonate also increases. This means that plaster and marcite pool finishes will deteriorate quickly because calcium carbonate is a major component of both plaster and marcite. Low CH also leads to corrosion of metal components in the pool plant, particularly in heat exchangers. Calcium carbonate usually provides a protective film on the surface of copper heat exchangers and heat sinks. This thin layer prevents much water-to-metal interaction but does not adversely affect the heating process. Without this protective layer caused by low CH, heat exchangers and associated parts can be destroyed prematurely. Strangely enough, as water temperature increases, solubility of calcium carbonate decreases. *The recommended range for most pools is 200 – 400 ppm. Calcium hardness should be tested at least monthly and has the least significant effect on the water balance when compared to pH and TA.
Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) is the sum of all solids dissolved in water. If all the water in a swimming pool was allowed to evaporate, TDS would be what was left on the bottom of the pool – like the white deposits left in a boiling pot after all the water has evaporated. Some of this dissolved material includes hardness, alkalinity, cyanuric acid, chlorides, bromides, and algaecides. TDS also includes bather wastes, such as perspiration, urine, and others.
TDS is often confused with Total Suspended Solids (TSS). But TDS has no bearing on the turbidity, or cloudiness, of the water, as all the solids are truly in solution. It is TSS, or undissolved, suspended solids, present in or that precipitate out of the water that make the water cloudy.
High TDS levels do affect chlorine efficiency, algae growth, and aggressive water, but only minimally. TDS levels have the greatest bearing on bather comfort and water taste – a critical concern for commercial pool operators. At levels of over 5,000ppm, people can taste it. At over 10,000ppm bather towels are scratchy and mineral salts accumulate around the pool and equipment. Still some seawater pools comfortably operate with TDS levels of 32,000ppm or more.
As methods of sanitization have changed, high TDS levels have become more and more of a problem. *The best course of action is to monitor and control TDS by measuring levels and periodically draining and replacing some of your mature water with new, lower TDS tap water. This is a better option than waiting until you must drain and refill your pool, which is not allowed in some areas where water conservation is required by law. However, you can also decrease TDS with desalinization equipment as long as you compensate with Calcium Hardness. (Do not adjust water balance by moving pH beyond 7.8.)
Regardless, you do need to measure and compensate for TDS to get the most precise saturation index and adjust your pH and Calcium Hardness levels accordingly. *It is generally recommended that you adjust for TDS levels by subtracting one tenth of a saturation index unit (.1) for every 1,000ppm TDS over 1,000 to keep your water properly balanced. When TDS levels exceed 5,000ppm, it is recommended that you subtract half of a tenth, or one twentieth of unit (.05) per 1,000ppm. And as the TDS approaches that of seawater, the effect is negligible.
Hot tubs and spas have a more significant problem with TDS levels than pools. Because the swimmer load is relatively higher, more chemicals are added for super-chlorination and sudsing along with a higher concentration of bather wastes. The increased electrical conductance that high TDS water promotes can also result in electrolysis or galvanic corrosion. Every hot water pool operator should consider a TDS analyzer as a standard piece of equipment.
A TDS analyzer is required to balance the water of any pool or spa in the most precise way. Myron L’s POOLPRO and POOLMETER™ immediately display TDS levels to correctly calculate your water’s saturation index and to ensure you take corrective action before TDS gets out of hand.
Temperature is the last and least significant factor in maintaining water balance. As temperature increases, the water balance tends to become more basic and scale producing. Calcium carbonate becomes less soluble, causing it to precipitate out of solution. As temperature drops, water becomes more corrosive.
In addition to helping determine water balance, temperature also affects bather comfort, evaporation, chlorination, and algae growth (warmer temperatures encourage growth). Myron L’s POOLPRO also precisely measures temperature to one tenth of a degree at the same time any other parameter is measured.
The formula for determining water balance is called the Langlier Index, or Saturation Index. It is determined by the following formula:
SI= (pH + TF + CF + AF ) – 12.1
Where TF is the temperature, CF is Calcium Hardness, and AF is Total Alkalinity adjusted for temperature. 12.1 is the Total Dissolved Solids constant. Consult appropriate conversion charts to obtain the correct values for each variable.
– An index between -0.5 and +0.5 is acceptable pool water.
– An index of more than +0.5 is scale-forming.
– An index below -0.5 is corrosive.
pH, Total Alkalinity, and Calcium Hardness are the big three contributors to water balance. *Pool water will often be balanced if these factors are kept within the recommended ranges.
The most immediate concern of anyone monitoring and maintaining a pool is the effectiveness of the sanitizer – the germ-killer. There are many types of sanitizers, the most common being chlorine in swimming pools and bromine in hot tubs and spas. The effectiveness of the sanitizer is directly related to the pH and, to a lesser degree, the other factors influencing water balance.
To have true chemical control, you need to monitor both the sanitizer residual and the pH and use that information to chemically treat the water – that’s where ORP comes in. ORP indicates the ability of oxidizers to burn up organic matter in the water, which means your water is clean and sanitary. There are colorimetric tests used to determine the amount of effective sanitizer for chlorine and other elements, but none is as objective and precise in determining the total killing power of all sanitizers as ORP.
ORP stands for Oxidation Reduction Potential (or REDOX) of the water and is measured in millivolts (mV). The higher the ORP, the greater the killing power of all sanitizers, not just free chlorine, in the water. ORP is the only practical method available to monitor sanitizer effectiveness. Thus, every true system of automatic chemical control depends on ORP to work.
The required ORP for disinfection will vary slightly between disinfecting systems and is also dependent on the basic water supply potential, which must be assessed and taken into account when the control system is initialized. *650mV to 700 – 750mV is generally considered appropriate.
Electronic controllers can be inaccurate and inconsistent when confronted with certain unique water qualities, so it is critical to perform manual testing with separate instrumentation. *For automatic control dosing, it is generally recommended that you manually test pH and ORP prior to opening and then once during the day to confirm automatic readings.
*Samples for confirming automatic control dosing should be taken from a sample tap strategically located on the return line as close as possible to the probes in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. If manual and automatic readings consistently move further apart or closer together, you should investigate the reason for the difference.
ORP readings can only be obtained with an electronic instrument. Myron L’s POOLPRO provides the fastest, most precise, easy-to-use method of obtaining ORP readings to check the effectiveness of the sanitizer in any pool or spa. This is the best way to determine how safe your water is at any given moment.
A relatively new development, saltwater pools use regular salt, sodium chloride, to form chlorine with an electrical current much in the same way liquid bleach is made. As chlorine – the sanitizer – is made from the salt in the water, it is critical to maintain the salt concentration at the appropriate levels to produce an adequate level of sanitizer. It is even more important to test water parameters frequently in these types of pools and a spa, as saltwater does not have the ability to respond adequately to shock loadings (super-chlorination treatments).
Most saltwater chlorinators require a *2,500 – 3,000ppm salt concentration in the water (though some may require as high as 5,000-7,000ppm). This can barely be tasted, but provides enough salt for the system to produce the chlorine needed to sanitize the water.
(It is important to have a good stabilizer level – *30 – 50 ppm – in the pool, or the sunlight will burn up the chlorine. Without it, the saltwater system may not be able to keep up with the demand regardless of salt concentration.)
Taste and salt shortages are of little concern to seawater systems that maintain an average of 32,000ppm. In these high-salt environments, you need to beware of corrosion to system components that can distort salt level and other parameter readings.
Additionally, incorrect salt concentration readings can occur in any saltwater system. The monitoring/controlling components can and do fail or become scaled — sometimes giving a false low salt reading. Thus, you must test manually for salt concentration with separate instrumentation before adding salt.
You must also test salt concentration manually with separate instrumentation to re-calibrate your system. This is critical to system functioning and production of required chlorine. Myron L’s POOLPRO conveniently tests for salt concentration at the press of the button as a check against automatic controller systems that may have disabled equipment or need to be re-calibrated.
As you can see, there are many factors affecting the comfort and sanitation of pool and spa water and the functioning of the equipment and structures that hold it, and no one instrument or method can be used to determine ALL of them, but Myron L’s POOLPRO gives you the most precise and comprehensive water testing instrument in one easy-to-use, handheld waterproof unit. Where precision counts, we’ve got you covered.
RECORD KEEPING – What to do with all those measurements …
Now that you have the data, you have to correctly transcribe, evaluate, and report it to the proper government agencies, or at least archive it as permanent record of proper compliance to whatever regulations apply to your pool or spa. (As if sanitizing and balancing the chemistry of the water wasn’t enough.)
*It is recommended (by the World Health Organization and other entities) that data handling be done objectively and that data be recorded in a common format and in the most accurate way. Also, data should be stored in more than one permanent location and made available for future analysis. *Most municipalities require commercial aquatic facilities to keep permanent records onsite and available for inspection at any time.
*Myron L’s POOLPRO makes it easy to comply with data record requirements. The POOLPRO is an objective means to test ORP, pH, TDS, temperature and the mineral/salt content of any pool or spa. You just rinse and fill the cell cup by submerging the waterproof unit and press the button of the parameter you wish to measure. You immediately get a standard, numerical digital readout – no interpretation required – eliminating all subjectivity. Up to 100 date-time-stamped readings can be stored in memory and then later transferred directly to a computer using our BluDock™ accessory package. You just set the unit on the Bludock and download the data to the computer. The user never touches or tampers with the data, reducing the potential for human error in transcription. The data can then be imported into any program necessary for record-keeping and analysis. *The Bludock is the fastest, easiest, best way to keep records that comply with governing standards.
Myron L Company’s POOLPRO is SIMPLY the best.
*Consult your governing bodies for specific testing, chemical concentrations, and all other guidelines and requirements. The ranges suggested here are meant as general examples.
Myron L Company assumes no responsibility for lack of compliance to specific regulations governing the testing and control of parameters in your pool and/or spa.
TweetThe need for safe drinking water in rural Ghana inspired Katherine Alfredo, a graduate student at the University of Texas at Austin to propose a project for a Fulbright Fellowship. The purpose of the fellowship was to map the extent of the fluoride concentration in the Bongo District of the Upper Eastern Region for use […]
The need for safe drinking water in rural Ghana inspired Katherine Alfredo, a graduate student at the University of Texas at Austin to propose a project for a Fulbright Fellowship. The purpose of the fellowship was to map the extent of the fluoride concentration in the Bongo District of the Upper Eastern Region for use by local authorities and eventually use the data collected in the development of a cost-effective defluoridation filter for existing capped wells.
In rural areas, groundwater is plentiful, but natural geographic contamination by inorganic contaminants like iron, manganese and fluoride render government sponsored boreholes useless. Fluoride in the Upper East, Upper West and Northern regions of Ghana often exceeds the general WHO recommended limit of 1.5 mg/liter.
Katherine began her research by observing and recording local water usage habits. She conducted borehole water usage counts on centrally and non-centrally located borehole sites tracking the quantity of water collected daily. Coupling this data with familial compound water usage surveys she was able to begin understanding the volumetric demand placed on each borehole daily and how that volume translates to the household level.
A one-liter sample of water was retrieved for testing and used for all the water quality tests. An aliquot of the sample water was placed in an Ultrameter II 6P to measure pH, ORP, conductivity, total dissolved solids and temperature.
Conductivity readings from the Ultrameter II will be used to simulate influent water containing excessive levels of fluoride in Katherine’s laboratory. Using Bongo as a design test case, Katherine plans to adjust the ionic strength of her synthetic influent to reflect that seen in the Bongo District.
Ultrameter II TDS readings were used as a quality indicator of water as it was dispensed from a borehole. The amount of all dissolved solids is important in determining the potential for interference and competition for adsorption sites on the aluminum adsorbents. Preventing any ions from competing for active sites on alumina surfaces will greatly increase the efficiency of filtration.
ORP readings taken by the Ultrameter II gave a good indicator of the general biological activity in the water. Additional testing was performed using two 2 mL tubes filled with sample water to measure nitrate/nitrite and ammonia using test strips. In another 2 mL tube a 1:1 dilution of the sample was created using distilled water to measure alkalinity using test strips.
Using a 0.45 micron filter, a 30 mL or 60 mL sterile plastic bottle was completely filled for fluoride concentration testing later in the laboratory.
Each capped borehole, new borehole, or nonfunctional borehole that was visited had its corresponding borehole identity recorded in a handheld GPS device. After each governance was covered, eight capped boreholes were chosen for water quality testing to be compared to the nearby functional boreholes.
At the time of Katherine’s departure, she had reported the pH and fluoride concentration of each well to the two water and sanitation government agencies in the Bongo area—The Community Water and Sanitation Agency and The Bongo District Assembly Water and Sanitation Team.
Katherine continues to analyze data recorded in Ghana and experiment with cost-effective solutions for fluoride removal in rural communities.
Expert Manages Storm Water Discharge in Active Construction Sites With Ultrameter II 6P: MyronLMeters.com
Tweet Mike Alberson, an expert in storm water pollution prevention, uses the Myron L Ultrameter II 6P to meet new and existing state and federal requirements for storm water monitoring. He checks for the presence of pollutants by testing the levels of total dissolved solids (TDS) and conductivity. He also tests storm water pH levels […]
Mike Alberson, an expert in storm water pollution prevention, uses the Myron L Ultrameter II 6P to meet new and existing state and federal requirements for storm water monitoring. He checks for the presence of pollutants by testing the levels of total dissolved solids (TDS) and conductivity. He also tests storm water pH levels in accordance with NPDES guidelines implemented in California in 2010 that mandate pH testing for all Risk Level 2 and 3 sites.
Though TDS and conductivity do not indicate the presence of any specific contaminant, monitoring these parameters is a good way to determine an increase in the concentration of dissolved chemical constituents generally. High conductivity or TDS levels are a red flag to Alberson to investigate potential sources of pollution.
Chemicals used in landscaping, such as herbicides, pesticides and fertilizers, as well as materials such as cement, can all potentially dissolve into storm water runoff. Additionally, acidic or basic pollutants impact the quality of water by altering the pH of the runoff. Monitoring is required because altering the pH alters the types and amounts of all chemical constituents in runoff and, thereby, its toxicity. Changes in pH also impact the ecosystem directly when they exceed the narrow range required by biota to live in the receiving waters. The new California NPDES requirements have set a pH range limit of 6.5 to 8.5 pH Units
The State Water Quality Board’s overall goal in implementing increased monitoring and reporting requirements is to evaluate the effectiveness of Best Management Practices (BMPs) on effluent pollution and the impact that construction activities have on receiving waters. Developers and inspectors like Alberson are continually challenged with preventing potential pollutants from leaving the project sites, and when that happens, they need to remediate any adverse affects on the environment.
As a prerequisite to construction, the Developer of Plan must generate and gain approval of BMPs and Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plans (SWPPPs) which take into account the nature of the project’s building schedule, phasing of the project, building materials, the projected rainfall, the percentage of impervious cover on the project and the impact that potential storm water runoff could have on receiving waters. The plans must also address the required monitoring and critical indicators of specific pollutants projected to discharge from the project site.
The site storm water inspector has to ensure that the necessary BMPs are implemented throughout the length of the project, as defined by the project SWPPP plan, which addresses project-specific site conditions and risk level determinations. Alberson uses the meter frequently on Barnhart Balfour Beatty projects as most fall into a category of Risk Level 2, which now requires pH monitoring along during a rain event of 0.5 in. or more.
New California requirements have required all SWPPP developers and inspectors to be certified by the state since Sept. 2, 2011 via a special course given by designated State Trainers of Record (TOR). Alberson is designated as a TOR and offers California’s new Qualified SWPPP Practitioner and Qualified SWPPP Developers courses.
As a trainer, Alberson passes on knowledge gained from his own experience. Through the years, he has seen inspectors send water samples off to laboratories for analysis, the results of which would not be known for up to two weeks. In addition, the pH of these samples would change in the time it took to get the samples to the labs for analysis. Alberson now trains developers and inspectors to use the Myron L Ultrameter II to immediately measure pH, thereby ensuring storm water runoff on project sites is precisely monitored for potential pollutants in real time.
In his own work as an inspector, Alberson has used the Myron L Ultrameter II to respond to potential pollution issues as they arise. For example, at Barnhart Balfour Beatty’s Otay Ranch Village #6 Elementary School project in Otay Mesa, Calif., he developed a remediation solution that prevented environmental contamination from high pH runoff resulting from a required lime treatment of the campus soil. By performing onsite testing following a rain event, Alberson was able to determine the potential runoff had a pH level of 12.5. He decided to immediately utilize a retention pond with carbon dioxide percolation control techniques. His remediation tactic worked using the meter to continuously monitor the pH until it was at a level acceptable for release into the receiving waters.