Certified Pool Operator (CPO) training -- What is not taught

JamesW

TFP Expert
Mar 2, 2011
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Re: Certified Pool Operator (CPO) training -- What is not ta

waste said:
Remember to only believe ~ 1/2 (that'd be .5 in metric :lol: ) of what they told you was proper pool maintenance. :p
The challenge is knowing which half.
 

Linkterfur

Well-known member
Feb 26, 2012
59
Stowe, VT
Re: Certified Pool Operator (CPO) training -- What is not ta

I'd also like to add that my CPO instructor (I took the class in April of 2011) explained to us that the "slugging method" or acid column was an appropriate way of reducing Alk. From what I've read and heard it's been debunked and makes no difference other than a possible way to etch your pool!

http://www.poolhelp.com/handouts/oB_Aci ... andout.pdf

I guess it varies from teacher to teacher though.
 

waste

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Mar 29, 2007
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Re: Certified Pool Operator (CPO) training -- What is not ta

JamesW said:
waste said:
Remember to only believe ~ 1/2 (that'd be .5 in metric :lol: ) of what they told you was proper pool maintenance. :p
The challenge is knowing which half.


Nah - just do a little reading here and you'll know which 1/2 it is :mrgreen:
 

the7thchemist

New member
May 29, 2013
1
Re: Certified Pool Operator (CPO) training -- What is not ta

The topics that are not taught in the CPO class are far greater than what was shown in the post.

The question is: Will the program begin to prepare me to operate a pool properly? The operative word here is 'begin'.

The answer is that the CPO program never asserted that it was exhaustive. It is sufficient to begin.

The collective experience of the members on this site can find fault with anything. Here, I find fault with the nit picking of a good program, written by an industry expert in 2005, and reviewed by many other industry experts.

We can all take pot shots at each other or encourage each other. I prefer the second scenario, not the first!

the7thchemist
 

JasonLion

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May 7, 2007
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Re: Certified Pool Operator (CPO) training -- What is not ta

the7thchemist, welcome to TFP!

The goal of this discussion is to suggest topics which deserve to be taught in the CPO training. These are (at least mostly) things which are more important than several of the topics that are covered in the course, and deserve to be included in future versions of the CPO training.

the7thchemist said:
We can all take pot shots at each other or encourage each other. I prefer the second scenario, not the first!
You might want to look at revising your post in light of this philosophy.
 

Isaac-1

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May 10, 2010
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Re: Certified Pool Operator (CPO) training -- What is not ta

the7thchemist said:
The topics that are not taught in the CPO class are far greater than what was shown in the post.

The question is: Will the program begin to prepare me to operate a pool properly? The operative word here is 'begin'.

The answer is that the CPO program never asserted that it was exhaustive. It is sufficient to begin.

The collective experience of the members on this site can find fault with anything. Here, I find fault with the nit picking of a good program, written by an industry expert in 2005, and reviewed by many other industry experts.

We can all take pot shots at each other or encourage each other. I prefer the second scenario, not the first!

the7thchemist


First off welcome to the board, I hope you hang around and participate in useful dialog

While the intent of CPO may be noble the reality that we hear about here, particularly from individuals that are dealing with semi-public regulated pools is that those enforcing policies and regulations are treating CPO information as gospel, not as an introduction to basic techniques. I think it is partly this situation that frustrates many participants in these message threads and it comes out sounding like bashing of the CPO program itself.

Ike
 

chem geek

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Mar 28, 2007
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Re: Certified Pool Operator (CPO) training -- What is not ta

the7thchemist said:
The collective experience of the members on this site can find fault with anything. Here, I find fault with the nit picking of a good program, written by an industry expert in 2005, and reviewed by many other industry experts.
Welcome to TFP! :wave:

Those "industry experts" for some topics were completely wrong. As a chemist, you should look at the chemistry for yourself and see that they were wrong. The 10x rule for breakpoint chlorination is an embarrassment to the pool industry for how long this bonehead mistake has been perpetuated (and the CPO course is not when this mistake was made, but like lemmings everyone just repeated the same incorrect information they heard before). Why did no one apparently notice the differing units of measurement for chlorine (ppm Cl2) oxidation of ammonia (ppm N) in different units compared to chlorine oxidation of Combined Chlorine (CC) in the same (ppm Cl2) units -- a factor of 5 difference? Eventually, the industry recognized CC (at least for monochloramine) as having one of the chlorine already bound to it, but that was only a smaller part of the error. How many pools have been over-chlorinated due to this mistake as well as not understanding the orders-of-magnitude difference in active chlorine level when CYA is vs. is not present?

I wrote that "CPO certification is great" and that the manual was "very impressive". However, I strongly dispute that all the suggestions for improvement are nit-picking. There is absolutely no excuse for not teaching the essence of at least some of the topics in the first post, such as the side effects of adding chemicals. If you look at the Word or PDF file (most of which is discussion/reasoning not to be included in the course and only a small subset of a few pages are actual proposed changes or additions to the CPO manual), I give suggestions for modifications to the manual and there is no reason why Table 5-5 should not be included. Why should CPO students not know how quickly the CH can rise from Cal-Hypo or the CYA from stabilized chlorine? Why should CPO students not be taught about the chlorine/CYA relationship (known definitively since at least 1974) and instead be taught incorrect information about the pH dependence on chlorine when CYA is present? Why should CPO students not be taught about how TA is a SOURCE of rising pH due to carbon dioxide outgassing? Why should students be taught the incorrect pH effects from chlorine sources? Why should the incorrect breakpoint chlorination rule continue to be taught?

The issue is not so much with what is not taught, but with what IS taught and is incorrect or incomplete or misleading.

I have been to both National Environmental Health Association (NEHA) Annual Education Conferences (AEC) and the National Swimming Pool Foundation (NSPF) World Aquatic Health Conferences (WAHC) and in both of these venues I have had conversations with numerous commercial/public pool operators and environmental health directors and many of them had problems with the pools they managed or regulated due to their misunderstanding of pool water chemistry from "industry experts" and what is and is not taught in the CPO course. No one had any idea of the chlorine/CYA relationship that explained why their pools developed algae as the CYA level climbed without a proportional rise to the FC level. Most did not know that a higher TA level was the primary cause for the pH rise in the pools that used hypochlorite sources of chlorine nor did they know how to efficiently lower the TA level through a process of acid addition and aeration at lower pH. Many still believed in following breakpoint chlorination even though it did not always work and resulted in strong odors (nitrogen trichloride) and sometimes persistent (organic) chloramines. I followed up with them via E-mail exchanges after the conference and they were grateful for the information that helped them in managing their pools.
 

chem geek

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Re: Certified Pool Operator (CPO) training -- What is not ta

This thread (which starts with the first post) is in the Further Reading section from that link in the Miscellaneous section of the Pool School. It's too technical to be included in the main portion of the Pool School and all the essential elements are found in other sections of the Pool School as follows:

Effects From Different Sources of Chlorine - Recommended Pool Chemicals and The Pool Calculator.

Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) - Definitions and Abbreviations.

Chlorine/CYA Relationship - ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry and Chlorine / CYA Chart.

TA and its Effect on Rising pH - Recommended Levels and Lower Total Alkalinity.

Net pH of Hypochlorite Sources of Chlorine - Definitions and Abbreviations and How to Chlorinate Your Pool.

True Cost of Different Chlorine Sources - Cost Comparison of Chlorine Sources in Further Reading, so yes this is not on the main Pool School page.

Breakpoint Chlorination - this is not described anywhere, but would be related to "Shocking a Pool" below.

Shocking a Pool - Basic Pool Care Schedule and Definitions and Abbreviations. Breakpoint is not explicitly mentioned, but the schedule implies no need for regular shocking of the pool. Chlorine maintenance is what is prescribed.

Attaining pH Stability, especially for SWG pools - Water Balance for SWGs.

High Chlorine Demand and Chlorine "Lock" - Breaking Down Ammonia in Further Reading, so yes this is not on the main Pool School page.

Grocery/Hardware Store vs. Pool Store Chemical Equivalents - Recommended Pool Chemicals and What is BBB?.

Procedures for Lowering TA - Lower Total Alkalinity.

Phosphate Levels and Algae Control by Chlorine - implied by Pool School articles saying to use chlorine alone for control of algae.

pH Effect on Chlorine When CYA is Present - not explicitly mentioned in Pool School since one need not worry so much about the pH effect on chlorine effectiveness when CYA is present.

CYA Protection of Chlorine from Sunlight - Recommended Levels. Implied by recommended CYA levels.

CYA and Indoor Pools and Any Spas - Using Chlorine in a Spa in Further Reading, so yes this is not on the main Pool School page. There is no article explicitly on indoor pools.

Turnover Rate and Law of Dilution - Determine Pump Run Time and Pump Basics. These do not refer to the Gage and Bidwell Law of Dilution (which is incorrectly applied anyway), but do refer to how to determine pump run time and refer to turnover rate.
 

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chem geek

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I don't know. I just ordered it and after it arrives I'll take a look to see if anything has changed. I don't believe any of my recommendations for change were put in, but we'll see. I'll post after I get the copy and review it.
 

jblizzle

Mod Squad
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May 19, 2010
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Thanks Richard. There were a few moderators that said we would like to read it out of curiosity but not spending that amount to do so.
 

chem geek

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Mar 28, 2007
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I received the 2014 edition of the Pool and Spa Operator™ Handbook and there were essentially no changes made from my recommendations, not even for some typos. The only changes that were made consistent with my recommendations were fixing a typo in the 1st column on page 80 ("harness" was changed to "hardness") and the Turnover Rate numbers on page 18 were corrected so they no longer use the inappropriate Gage and Bidwell Law of Dilution. I suspect that those two changes didn't come about because of my input. They didn't even change the typo on page 76 under "Indoor Air Handling" that begins with "Inorganic chloramines like trichloramine and nitrogen trichloride are volatile and will evaporate." Trichloramine is a synonym for nitrogen trichloride. Clearly this is a typo that should have been dichloramine instead.
 

Patrick_B

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Jun 7, 2011
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Midland TX
Richard, why do you think it is that institutions and government are so resistant to accepting proven facts?
Do you think either will ever recognize Cya/FC ratios we talk about here?
 

chem geek

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The response from the CDC MAHC regarding my reference to the O'Brien paper was downright insulting to the authors of that paper as well as being inaccurate. They wrote (from this link):

The use of the term “reserve” is not a standard one and without user definition its use is not warranted. Comment appears to be based on information provided in a 40-year old reference. This is a definition, and does not need to be an in-depth, page-long article. Current code language is preferred.

The paper may be 40 years old, but that does not mean that the experiments were not done properly or that the results are not still relevant. Also, the proposed standard already has footnote 40 from 1950 and footnote 70 from 1962 that are older and has footnotes 31, 47, 36 that are nearly as old from 1978-1980.

My proposed changes to the definition were not "an in-depth, page-long article". After removing my suggestion for using the terms "reservoir or reserve" the new text is only 3 words longer than the original text, but far more accurate (when CYA is present).

The O’Brien paper relies primary on the use of computational techniques with only limited conformation using wet chemistry analysis. The straightforward derivation described in the comment is not obvious. Further research is necessary to consider this proposed language.

This is absolutely not true. The paper did not rely on computational techniques. As they clearly described in their "EXPERIMENTAL APPROACH" (see the paper here):

Experimental evaluations of K were based primarily on ultraviolet (U.V.) spectrophotometry, i.e., techniques such as differential spectrophotometry and spectrometric titrimetry. Fundamentally the particular measurements performed exploited the often large spectral differences between "adjoining" species such as: (1) cyanuric acid and its successive ionization products; (2) chlorinated cyanuric acids and their successive ionization products; and (3) chlorinated cyanurates and their successive hydrolysis products.

The use of computational techniques was done only for two secondary purposes one of which is noted below:

The computer program was of great assistance to the experimental studies. Computed estimates of species' distributions obtained from preliminary values of the equilibrium constants were invaluable for establishment of the conditions and concentrations that would appropriately restrict the number of significant species in subsequent experiments. Reiteration of this procedure eventually permitted selection of conditions and measurement of individual equilibria without strong interference from extraneous processes. Thus, a more accurate determination of many of the constants was possible than had been achieved previously. In some instances errors as great as 0.5 in pK were found for previously determined values.

In other words, they used computations from previous results to more quickly hone in to the pH that would produce peak absorptions to most distinguish between different chemical species so that they could provide more accurate pK.

In addition, they cross-checked their results with redundant data (i.e. pK that could otherwise be mathematically computed from other pK but were instead measured experimentally):

An attempt was made to obtain experimental values not only for each of the independent constants, but for some of the redundant constants as well. This provided for independent check on the validity of some of the determinations.

The second area where computations were useful after the pKa were determined was an additional cross-check they noted below:

One effect resulting from reactions 1-6 is a gradual increase of hypochlorite ion concentration with iocreasing pH. It appeared that one method of determining reliability of the equilibrium system was to compare computed values of OCl- concentrations with those found experimentally. Results of such a comparison are shown in Figure 14.9. Good agreement was attained.

Furthermore, the O'Brien paper was not the first one determining the equilibrium constants. In fact, they compared their constants with those determined earlier by Monsanto and by S.R.I. Their results were consistent, though more accurate and in some cases more complete, then these previous studies.

When I was getting permission to scan and post the paper, I contacted the editor Dr. Alan J. Rubin as well as one of the authors Dr. James N. Butler and talked about the paper. Dr. Butler passed away in 2012.
 

Patrick_B

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Unreal, and tragically typical of what we have come to expect from such agencies.

I know people like that unfortunately. It's their way, or it's wrong.
 
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