Baptistery Care Suggestions????

Aggie_ChE

Bronze Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
Apr 30, 2011
7
Longview, TX
Hi. I have just been asked to take responsibility for our church baptistery. The baptistery is a 400 gallon fiberglass structure with an electric heater and small circulation pump. The baptistery is probably 20-to-40 years old. The goal is to keep the baptistery full and somewhat warm 24/7, just in case. The baptistery is in the front of the main auditorium. There are shades on all of the auditorium windows and the baptistery is built into a windowless stage there will be little light getting to the water. It would be best if chemicals only have to be added to the pool once per week, preferably Sunday morning before services. I am hoping to only clean and refill every month or 6 weeks. I have an outdoor vinyl-lined 16,000 gallon pool that I maintain using the BBB method, but this seems to be a different animal.

There is not much information on baptistery care on the Internet. Most recommendations are to only fill the fiberglass baptistery when needed, which is not the desire of church leadership. Internet cautions are that the fiberglass polyester coatings in baptisteries are easily damaged.

My big questions are what chemicals are suggested? Can I use chlorine (bleach) as my biocide? If so, what free chlorine concentration can I get by with? I was thinking of boosting the chlorine to 20 ppm every Sunday morning and then adding nothing until the following Sunday.

Can I forget about CYA since light exposure will be minimal?

What about pH, TA, and CH? (It would be way cool if I could just add a cup of 10% bleach Sunday morning and call it good.)

Any suggestions are appreciated.

Thanks
 

jblizzle

Mod Squad
TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
May 19, 2010
43,259
Tucson, AZ
You will want some CYA in the water, not for protection from the sun, but to buffer the harshness of the chlorine.

Put around 30ppm of CYA in and bump the FC up to shock level (which you may find is more than needed) every week. You many not want to bump it up high in Sunday morning if that is right before use.
 

GaryT58

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TFP Guide
Jul 26, 2016
571
Monroe, GA
Part of it depends upon how it will be used. If only used on Sunday's then yes, using bleach up to higher level may be an option. If it were me, on Sundays it is to be used, I would check level that morning and adjust to lower end of target range. Then go to high level afterwards. I would not want to expose people to high level of chlorine, as some people may have sensitive skin and chance of bleaching clothing. If not being used, then check level and raise back to high level Sunday morning.

I have never used tablets, but since you plan to drain every 6 weeks or so, then that may be a good option too. You could find feeder and adjust to keep at a good level. No worry about chlorine lock from cyn since you would be draining frequently. Can keep level more stable during week, which would be good if there are times which its used other than Sundays - i.e. Wednesday nights. I would not think cyn would really be needed, but the tabs would give you some to hold some of the cl in reserve. Bleach would be the better priced option.

I would check ta and ph as well, keeping in range, but this should not be a big deal as you are refilling often and tap (unless well) should be a good starting point. Again, because some people could have sensitive skin, so would not want the ph/ta to get too out of line.

Would not worry about ch since fiberglass and refilling often.
 

JoyfulNoise

TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
May 23, 2015
15,799
Tucson, AZ
Does it have a filter??

In all the churches I've been in, the baptistery is always emptied and cleaned after each use as there was no means of filtration. So it was treated as essentially as a heated bathtub. But then again, in all of those circumstances, baptisms were scheduled events each month, so someone just had to arrive early, fill the tub and turn on the heater. Also, in two of those three churches, a bromine tablet floater was used.

If you do not have a means of filtration, then leaving water in the tub is not really an option. If it does have a filter, then you should operate it like a hot tub if you want to leave water in it long term. You definitely can not sanitize once per week, as that will create some pretty gross and possibly dangerous water conditions. It's a highly public body of water and so there's no way to know what people are bringing into it. Disease transmission is a real concern.
 

Aggie_ChE

Bronze Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
Apr 30, 2011
7
Longview, TX
Thanks for the quick replies. I should have checked earlier for the suggestions.

The intent is to keep the baptistery ready at all times, so the baptistery will have to be filled all the time.
Unfortunately there is no filter. There is a water fill line, drain line, and circulation pump with heater.

Today (Monday) I drained, scrubbed, and refilled the tank. I added 30 ppm of stabilizer (3.5 tablespoons), 70 ppm Total Alkalinity (2/3 cup baking soda), and 12 ppm shock level of chlorine (5 oz of 10% bleach). Sunday I will check residual chlorine level, hoping it still has several pppm of free chlorine, and then add bleach to return back to shock (12 ppm) level.

Thanks again SO MUCH for your help!!!!
 

Aggie_ChE

Bronze Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
Apr 30, 2011
7
Longview, TX
Why did you add baking soda? TA does not start a 0 and in TX I would guess it was already pretty high.
You are right about the baking soda. My tap water TA tested at 50 this morning, so I would not have needed to add nearly as much. I will remember that next time. THANKS!!

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Even with the brief uses, I assume it would accumulate bugs and dust. A filter would be a nice addition.
A filter could be added, but being in a climate-controlled building, it seems like there is very little bugs and dust accumulation.

Thanks!

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From another perspective I hope it gets used often!!
Hey, thanks! We hope that having the baptistery ready to go encourages usage, too!