Will the Industry Ever Change CYA/FC Parameters?

gregsfc

Bronze Supporter
May 27, 2014
204
Cookeville,TN
Thanks mguzzy. I wish I could help more, but there are hours of podcast time to listen to in order to get a good understanding of what exactly they're talking about and voting on exactly with some of these proposals.

Thanks for analyzing the study results mgtfp. That clears things up a bunch for me. The committees conclusions and set up info is in plain language, but when they get in to the meat of the data collection and results, I get lost.

All I can say about the max fc reduction proposal is that it came from the stabilizer ad hoc committee that Richard chairs to move it in a lower allowed direction. The wording in the summary of this dicussion on this proposal confused me as to what they are actually proposing from a guidance standpoint (is it a true max or just for certain situations). If it is what it seems to be, that's disturbing. What makes it even more confusing is how max fc at 5 would work combined with the proposal in the next paragraph.

What's even more disturbing than limiting fc to 5 on the upper end is the discussion to allow operators to allow cya as high as 200 as long as they can maintain the ratio at 30. If something like this goes through, it would sort of support the way retailers like Leslie's views high cya; basically as harmless and they'd have the MAHC to back up their belief. I just wonder what is behind this thinking with the TRC members. Seems backwards; and it seems to support the status quo for the residential side of things or even worse. I think the main sticking point to not allow this proposal was the ability for operators to actually measure things accurately with cya and fc that high. If it weren't for that, it may have gotten more yes votes.

I agree that the ratio being validated as the proper way to sanitize chlorinated pools is a huge deal; validates the outcasted BBB/TFP methodology that we all know is correct, but I'm disappointed in the final allowed ratio. Well; it's not really final. They'll be a comment period and the draft will go to a CDC committee; but I think that those TRC votes are the crutial step towards a changed MAHC document.
 

mgtfp

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Yep - 5, 30 and 200 doesn't work out. Unless they wanted to limit FC to 5 only for pools without CYA. I guess we'll just have to wait for the official announcement.
 

gregsfc

Bronze Supporter
May 27, 2014
204
Cookeville,TN
But that is dysfunctional. Max FC 5, 30 ratio and max CYA of 200 doesn't work out!

Remember, legislators set pi = 3
Exactly! That's why I'm saying there has to be more to this than what I'm getting from the sumnary notes at the website. I'm evidently not getting this in the proper context; and much of their discussions go back to prior discussions and even prior votes.
 

gregsfc

Bronze Supporter
May 27, 2014
204
Cookeville,TN
So, the bottom line, not surprisingly, is that our health is being protected by people who know no science. That makes since, as our economy now is being controlled by people with no knowledge of economics. Our tax dollars at work.

Well my personal opinion, which may be a little more conservative than average and maybe not quite as cynical as some (some may say that's being naive to think that most people aren't evil intended), is that it's probably best that the people that make up this TRC (technical review board) for the CMAHC should be looking at how their decisions about regulatory guidance affects how the industry operates; aka it shouldn't be only about science.

From the little bit of podcast that I've listened to from their meetings, they are up front about that aspect of their work. That is how changing guidance may affect the ability of the industry to cope or understand. A lot of the proposed changes for the next published MAHC deal with simple clarity issues and/or grammar issues that's contained in the code; and then other discussions and votes have to do with substantive issues. Most of the substantive issues, at least the ones dealing with water chemistry, are focused on the work done with stabilizers by the Ad Hoc committee in 2017. I wasn't able to grasp via reading the meeting notes why some of them thought cya/fc 20 was going to be too tough on industry or if maybe that wasn't it and they had other reasons. That's just a little bit of assumption on my part; but it did have in the verbiage in the summary that "it was a step in the right direction". So to me that sounds like they agreed with the number 20, but thought it should be phased in for whatever reason.
 

poolnoobgrandma

Gold Supporter
Sep 15, 2018
570
Seminole, FL
Just a side note. I read this whole thread with interest, then did some googling to see what's out there with regard to CYA/FC ratios. I'm loving my troublefree pool, and I keep my FC on the high side of the recommended range. That said, if someone went out to read what the EPA, CDC, and others say about safe chlorine levels they would freak out and be afraid to jump in my pool. I think this foundational difference between TFP and the "common view" should be pointed out and explained as simply as possible on the front page of the site. I get it NOW, after more than a year here, and it may seem obvious to everyone else, but for newcomers, it's the core change in thinking that's needed to follow this method.
 

gregsfc

Bronze Supporter
May 27, 2014
204
Cookeville,TN
@poolnoobgrandma I agree. For whatever reason, TFP is not communicated as an entirely different strategy of pool care with regards to water chemistry. It's just thought of as another place to go for guidance by those outside this group and for those just getting started. Like you stated, it is only after joining, learning and then following these methodologies and then reflecting on these methods versus the traditional methods when one learns how different they are from each other. Just look at the questions that noobies ask when they first join; the terminologies that they use; the assumptions they make about what the experts need to know about. One can tell by the questions that they don't yet realize what they've found. It's sort of an odd phenomenon, because the old mantra for the fc/cya methodolgy, which was BBB, that method is thought of as a different strategy from the outside, but the old BBB method for chlorine and cya management is mostly only taught here.

There was talk by the CMAHC that the EPA would have to raise the fc limit beyond the current 4 to aid in providing the next model of guidance for states. I'm not sure how that works.

Chem Geek has an old post on here where he explains that an outdoor pool with fc at 40% of cya (a true shock level) is roughly equivalent to a pool without cya at 1.5 ppm and suggested levels by tfp are equivalent to something like .6 ppm compared to a pool with no cya. This is where the disconnect lies. The regulators have never made allowance for cya in the fc limits set as safe and is why they are super low and are no where close to what they should be. This is what Richard has been trying to show them with reluctant success.
 

Ripple

Bronze Supporter
Aug 11, 2020
54
North Georgia
I wonder if the TFP method would be better served from a marketing/branding standpoint using the term "chlorine/liquid chlorine" instead of "bleach?" I know this may sound silly but it seems most people are familiar with pools and "chlorine" but might not understand bleach is (or can be) the same. It's like my mom for example, she still doesn't understand that Advil and Ibuprofen are the same thing. My wife told her to take some Ibuprofen the other day and my mom said she only had Advil and would go to the store and get some (she is almost 80). Maybe that would stop some of the "bleacher" comments and other negativity (associations with laundry).....especially since the bleach market seems to be changing/expanding, adding other ingredients, etc. (non-chlorine bleach).
 

poolnoobgrandma

Gold Supporter
Sep 15, 2018
570
Seminole, FL
I wonder if the TFP method would be better served from a marketing/branding standpoint using the term "chlorine/liquid chlorine" instead of "bleach?" I know this may sound silly but it seems most people are familiar with pools and "chlorine" but might not understand bleach is (or can be) the same. It's like my mom for example, she still doesn't understand that Advil and Ibuprofen are the same thing. My wife told her to take some Ibuprofen the other day and my mom said she only had Advil and would go to the store and get some (she is almost 80). Maybe that would stop some of the "bleacher" comments and other negativity (associations with laundry).....especially since the bleach market seems to be changing/expanding, adding other ingredients, etc. (non-chlorine bleach).
I think it should be marketed as CYA/Chlorine Balance or something similar. That ratio is the big difference. (Almost) everyone uses chlorine in some form to sanitize their pool. Determining the right FC amount based on the CYA in the pool seems to be an (almost) only TFP thing. And with so much guidance from government agencies stating that if you go over 5 ppm you and your guests will have health impairments, it's really important to understand this. Especially for new pool owners, whose manufacturers' warranties say to keep their chloring a 1 - 3 ppm.
 

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Dirk

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Just look at the questions that noobies ask when they first join; the terminologies that they use; the assumptions they make about what the experts need to know about. One can tell by the questions that they don't yet realize what they've found.
Late to this party, and have so far only read one page. But this excerpt struck a chord. Here's a suggestion for a possible positive step we all could take. A "Call To Action."

I like to greet newbies. Many of us here do. They may not have come through the Home page. They likely didn't. So they don't know who we are. Google probably landed them in the middle of a forum page. So they ask a question and we say "Hi!" and answer their question and then they're gone. Lately I've been encouraging them to fill in their signature, and look into test kits, by sending them here:
Marty and others like to give them the ABCs link. Which is good, but its title is not particularly compelling. Neither is "Read This Before You Post." I always feel like some might get offended by it, in fact, because it sounds a lot like "You're Doing It Wrong." And that's not a great first impression. Same for the ABCs, sounds a lot like "You Can't Play Until You Finish Your Homework!" This is subliminal, but still a turn off.

With the application of a little marketing psychology, maybe we could entice more new folks to understand what's going on here, and to dig deeper past the answer to their question, and maybe stick around. Then maybe spread the word.

The first step would be to create a new page that clearly, and simply, and quickly describes who TFP is, what TFPC is, and the direct, real-world benefits of using TFP methods. The ABCs and Pool School and the science can come later. This first read would be a simple take-away, an enticing message: "If I do this, I'm gonna end my pool problems for good, and I'm going to save money!" Boom! Just a short read with this very dramatic messaging. A few pool pic's. Maybe before and afters. Maybe some happy faces and associated testimonials. Good ol' corny marketing. Then lower in the page, maybe a little science, an intro to the ABCs, a link to the test kits, a link to read-this-before-you-post, etc. And the title of this page would be the most important aspect. Because that title would show up in the link box that we greeters could include in every one of our first "Welcome to TFP" posts. So something along the lines of "See Naked Girls" or "Free Beer!" Kidding to make a point. A title so compelling that they just gotta click it. "Put an End To Pool Problems For Good, and Save a Ton of Money Doing It!" or something to that effect. "Read ABCs" or "Fill In Your Signature" doesn't cut it. But "Save Money" might. What DIY pool owner doesn't want to do that?

A "Call To Action" is a marketing term that describes specific messaging that should be included in an ad (which in essence is what I'm proposing, an ad for TFPC). It gives the reader/viewer of a marketing piece a specific task to perform. It doesn't leave them wondering what to do next, or where to buy, or who to call. It flat out tells them. The title of the page (and so the link in our "Welcome" posts) would be a Call To Action (In essence: Click Here To Save Money) and then the resulting page would end with a Call To Action as well (read ABCs, buy a kit, go to Pool School, whatever). Marketing 101: entice, inform, direct.

@Leebo, I'm not assuming you haven't already thought of this. I'm just putting a finer point on one aspect of this thread: What can we do? This thread includes some reports of people doing something, but also a lot of frustration about how enough is not getting done. This is something we could actually do. If the adoption of the FC/CYA science is a grass roots effort, then TFP must be at the forefront of it. So spread the word! We could do more than just answer questions and hope that newbies might stick around because of the kind gesture. We could be more pro-active in giving them a specific reason to, and we could start that process with post #2 of every first-timer's thread.

Unless, of course, I've completely misunderstood the primary mission here, or the approach by which you want to achieve it.
 
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Dirk

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Dirk, I'm so glad you volunteered....
Well, one of the most important aspects of what I was proposing was that it should be a short read. So newbies would be more likely to get to it, and get through it. I may not be the right man for the job! 🤪
 

mguzzy

Gold Supporter
Well, one of the most important aspects of what I was proposing was that it should be a short read. So newbies would be more likely to get to it, and get through it. I may not be the right man for the job! 🤪
I think part of what you are proposing is what they were trying to do with the youtube vids. But I agree, I've found it takes a bit for a new member to realize we profess something different to what they have heard before. A more obvious mission statement would be nice to send people to. In the bigger picture we will be a small voice trying to turn the behemoth of the pool industry for a long time to come. New paradigms often take a while to take hold. But its fun to see it happen.
 

NCMike

Gold Supporter
Jan 31, 2020
135
Raleigh, NC
As someone new to this site I would like to say that the videos are what turned me on the TFP. I found this site when researching building my own pool. I saw all the links posted for Pool School, ABCs of water chemistry, and all the links for gunite, plaster, etc... while reading other's build threads. I must admit that I would click the links, see the wall of words, then click back and continue reading someone else's build thread. They were very intimidating at first because it's so much information coming at you so fast. Once I watched the videos, I revisited the links and they were not as intimidating because the videos introduced me to the foreign concepts of CYA/FC ratios and the TFP method. Pool school and ABCs of water chemistry were easier to read and understand after the videos. With more people being on social media platforms that are dominated with pictures and videos, it may be easier to get the TFP point across earlier if you first link your videos then the necessary reading after that.

Just thought I would share my experience.
 

duraleigh

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That's a great post, NCMike I will make sure your thoughts are not lost on the folks who are constantly updating and trying to make the forum better.
 
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JC707

Well-known member
Sep 5, 2020
131
Bay Area, CA
I'm very new here still learning a ton. I checked out some info from CDC etc and it appears 1-10ppm FC is recommended if I am understanding correctly . If I check the TFP charts it shows for example a SWG pool with 70 cya needing 5ppm FC. Is this considered high if its within range of CDCs recommendation?


Just a side note. I read this whole thread with interest, then did some googling to see what's out there with regard to CYA/FC ratios. I'm loving my troublefree pool, and I keep my FC on the high side of the recommended range. That said, if someone went out to read what the EPA, CDC, and others say about safe chlorine levels they would freak out and be afraid to jump in my pool. I think this foundational difference between TFP and the "common view" should be pointed out and explained as simply as possible on the front page of the site. I get it NOW, after more than a year here, and it may seem obvious to everyone else, but for newcomers, it's the core change in thinking that's needed to follow this method.
 

gregsfc

Bronze Supporter
May 27, 2014
204
Cookeville,TN
The followimg is my understanding; not neccessarily fact: The CDC publishes a document called the Model for the Aquatic Health Code (MAHC). It gets updated each three years. The CMAHC is the non profit group that does all the work between each published update. They conduct discussions; do research; and eventually vote on changes for the next model code. Richard headed an ad-hoc committee during the current update period for the CMAHC on "stabilizers". His group conducted actual research experiments to test the probability of three different pathogen spreads of sloughed off feces from one individual to another at, I think, 1.5 meters apart. The research concluded that the current minimum limits on FC at 90 cya allowed by the current code allows for one of those pathogens tested out of the three to exceed the EPA limit on the probability of infection to another person, and, if I understand it correctly, setting a minimum ratio of 30 CYA/FC or turned around our way, 3% FC/CYA will put the probability within the EPA limit; but they recommended 20 or 5%, respectively. The individuals who do the voting make up the TRC. The votes are now all in; they watered down the ad-hoc committee's recommendation of 20 down to 30, and now it goes over to the CDC for more discussions and votes before going over to publishing. None of this directly affects residential pools, however, it could and should affect how pool care is taught, because we will soon have the CDC saying that a minimum ratio in pools matters; and that has never been published before.

States and municipalities write the actual regulations or codes that hotel and other public swimming pools must follow in each state or municipality. They use the MAHC as a guide for writing or changing their codes if I understand correctly. I personally don't understand what the CDC's model recommends as an upper limit as it stands now, but it must allow for FC of 10 in certain situations, because one of the proposals for the upcoming code is to lower the upper limit to 5 from now, 10.

I've read only two states' current codes. CA and TN. California currently allows up to FC of 10; whereas TN allows only 3. They both allow CYA as high as 100. In TN, the minimum FC is .5, so a public pool in TN is legal today if it has .5 FC even if cya is near or at 100. So currently, there is no ratio requirements; only mins. and max. FC and max cya. At least that's the way I read it. So if TN adopts the guidance of the upcoming model, even though it will be far below the 7.5% fc/cya recommended here; it will still increase the fc/cya minimum by a factor of 6. So if adopted as recommended by the CMAHC, it will still be a significant improvement in pool water sanitation limits; but keep in mind, this does not even address algae prevention, which is where the 7.5% figure comes from for us.
 

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