1 THE Swimming Pool Technical Operator (SPTO) SYLLABUS

This is what people studying for PWTAG-approved SPTO qualification should be taught


a Types of pool and uses

b Types of pool tank and finish

c How swimming pools work - the recirculation cycle:

  • i. circulation system
  • ii. filtration
  • iii. chemical disinfection

a Pollution from bathers - why people are the main source of pollution bathers:

  • 1.2.1 skin scales, sweat, urine, mucus from the nose and chest, saliva, hair, faecal matter, cosmetics, suntan lotion

b Pollution not from bathers:

  • 1.2.2 indoor and outdoor pools, dust, floating debris, grass, dirt (soil/stones) precipitated chemicals, sand from filters, byproducts of chemical treatment

c Pre-swim hygiene:

  • toilets and showers – the value of pre swim hygiene

d When not to swim – exclusion policies

e Babies and toddlers – swim nappies

a Staffing structure and management systems – their impact on water quality

b Health and Safety – the legal requirements

c HSG 179 – the written procedures (PSOP and method statement)

d COSHH – substances hazardous to health in a pool, chemicals and microorganisms

e Confined spaces – and its application

f O&M manual and schematic drawing

g Training – who, when and how much is needed

h PWTAG Code of Practice – Swimming Pool Technical Operations’ role in written procedures

a Design issues impacting on water quality

b Awareness of BS EN 15288 1 & 2, the design, management and operation of swimming pools

c Sport England design guide

d Changing rooms:

  • toilets and showers
  • baby changing facilities
  • floors in wet areas

e Safe access – including people with disabilities

f The plant room – location, size and access

g Chemical store

h Temperature and humidity

i Energy management

a Bather load – calculating the factors for safety and water quality

b Circulation rate – calculations

c Turnover period – calculations and alignment with PWTAG standards

d Hydraulic design – different design solutions

e Surface water removal – focusing on removing pollution:

  • deck-level
  • channels
  • skimmers

f Balance tanks – purpose, design and maintenance

g Outlet and inlet safety – the entrapment: PWTAG Code, BS EN 13451–1 and 3

h Moveable floors and booms – effects on hydraulics and water quality

i Circulation pumps – the principles, variable speed drives

j Valves – types, uses and safe operation

k Flow meters and pressure gauges – calibration, maintenance

l More than one pool – separate treatment systems

m Dye testing – why and when

a Clarity of water – importance

b Filtration rates – pros and cons:

  • medium-rate
  • high-rate

c The sand bed – grades and depths

d Underdrains – how they work, how they are best constructed

e Other types of filter:

  • bags and cartridges
  • pre-coat
  • carbon
  • glass
  • membrane
  • zeolite

f Backwashing – the principles:

  • how to backwash, fluidisation of the bed, air scour, the rinse cycle
  • strainer basket – part of the process
  • when to backwash – PWTAG Code and guidance

g Filter design – materials, sizes and fittings Filter maintenance – the annual programme

h Coagulation – what it is

  • how it works – agglomeration and flocculation
  • high-rate filters – and coagulants

i Coagulants:

  • dosing – quantities and rates
  • injection – where to apply

a Suitability and compatibility of disinfection types

b What is disinfection – in a swimming pool setting

c Oxidation – what it is, and does

d CT rates – an appreciation

e Choosing a primary disinfectant – chlorine, hypochlorite, chlorinated isocyanurates, bromine (soft water, hard water, costs and impurities)

f The chemistry of chlorine disinfection – an understanding:

  • how chlorine forms a residual – hypochlorous acid and hypochlorite ion
  • the effects of pH on disinfection – the values to pursue and why
  • breakpoint chlorination – understanding the crucial role of breakpoint
  • chlorine plus ammonia – urea, chloramines
  • nitrogen trichloride – its causes
  • organic chloramines – how they are caused, their effects and removal

g Free and combined chlorine - the relationship and target levels

h pH value - its influence on disinfection and the options

i Electrolytic generation of chlorine – the systems and applicability

j Chlorinated isocyanurates – when and how to use:

  • cyanuric acid – awareness of influence of residuals; outdoor pools
  • residual values – PWTAG guidance

k Bromine based disinfectants BCDMH – what it is and the residuals:

  • sodium bromide

l Other forms of residual disinfection and new treatments

m The importance of dilution – why disinfection and filtration is not enough

a When secondary disinfection should be considered

b The effects of secondary disinfection

c Dealing with Cryptosporidium

d Ozone – what it is, how it is applied, the pros and cons

e UV – what it is, how it is applied, maintenance and monitoring, pros and cons

a Principles – key requirements when dosing chemicals

b Components – the system design and infrastructure

c Dosing practice – where, when and how

d Hand dosing in emergencies

e Diluting chemicals – how and when to dilute

f Dissolving dry chemicals

g Dose strength – calculations

h Day tanks – use, construction and fittings

i Dosing pumps – type, construction and capacity

j Pipework – construction and application

k Valves and fittings – that may be incorporated into the dosing system

l Calibration – checking the dosing rate

m Faults – fail safe systems

n Automatic control – optimising dosing treatment:

  • closed loop – how the control works
  • sample mixing – representative sample
  • sampling – where to sample from
  • calibration – independent analysis of the sensor to verify the desired effect
  • sensors – amperometric, redox, pH value
  • controllers – the levels of sophistication

o Circulation feeders – what they are and how they work:

  • trichlorinators
  • brominators
  • calcium hypochlorite

p CO2 installation and dosing requirements

q Super-chlorination

a Source water quality

b Alkalinity – the effect on pH

c Hardness – PWTAG guidelines, grout and scale

d Dissolved solids – Corrosion, erosion and PWTAG guidelines

e Water balance – what it is

f Disinfection by-products – the health effects:

  • nitrogen trichloride – effects, monitoring and mitigation
  • THMs – role of humic acid, monitoring and removal

a Comparator and photometer – how to use them

b How to sample and test for:

  • free chlorine
  • combined chlorine
  • pH

c Chlorine disinfection:

  • testing frequency
  • disinfectant residual tests – PWTAG Code and standards
  • understanding effects of free chlorine on chloramines
  • interpreting test results
  • acting on chlorine residual results
  • monitoring

d pH value – measuring and checking:

  • alkaline disinfectants – effect on pH
  • acidic disinfectants – effects on pH

e Alkalinity

f Hardness

g Dissolved solids – measuring and control

h Langelier and water balance – measuring and control – in context

i Documentation and record keeping and storing test results

j Bromides:

  • measuring and control
  • interpreting and results

k Documentation

a Infectious hazards, including transmission:

  • gastro-intestinal infections – Shigella, Escherichi coli, Cryptosporidium
  • foot infections – verruca and athletes foot
  • skin infections – molluscum contagiosum, Staphylococcus aureus and MRSA
  • eye infections – including Acanthamoeba

b Non-infectious hazards:

  • respiratory irritation – including Legionella and asthma
  • skin irritation – bromine, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, folliculitis
  • ear infections, including otitis externa

a What goes wrong – definition of an outbreak

b Problems that have lead to outbreaks

c Dealing with a faecal incident – The PWTAG Code, technical note and NHS UK Cryptosporidium Reference Unit: Guidance for Investigators and Health Professionals:

  • solid faeces
  • runny faeces
  • procedure for medium-rate filters
  • procedure for high-rate filters
  • prevention
  • blood and vomit

a Sampling – must include chemical tests

b Aerobic colony counts (TVC)

c Coliform and E coli – potential faecal or environmental pollution

d Pseudomonas aeruginosa – the reasons for testing

e Legionella – testing for spas, showers and water storage

f Test requirements – monthly analysis

g Interpreting results – assessing microbiological quality,

h Remedial action

i Gross contamination and closure of the pool

j Quality assurance

a Material safety data sheets – provision and use

b Risk and COSHH assessment – the process and elimination

c Delivery:

  • access
  • unloading

d Bulk deliveries and storage

e Transporting chemicals

f The chemical store

  • siting
  • fire risk
  • spillage
  • ventilation

g Storage of disinfectants and other chemicals including:

  • sodium hypochlorite
  • calcium hypochlorite
  • chlorinated isocyanurates
  • sodium bisulphate
  • CO2
  • hydrochloric acid
  • sulphuric acid

a Servicing and frequency

b Calibration

c Daily monitoring and maintenance, fault finding

a Floor surfaces – dirt, slips trips and falls and bacteria

b Around the pool – PWTAG technical note

c Scale removal

d Pool covers – cleaning both sides to control mould and Pseudomonas aeruginosa

e Transfer channels and balance tanks – regular maintenance

f The pool bottom – particularly deck-level pools

g Moveable floors and booms – the need to clean under structures

h Stainless steel – preventing corrosion

i Inflatables and swimming aids – prevention of Pseudomonas aeruginosa

j Safeguarding the fabric of the building – preventing steel corrosion cracking, pool grout, filling and emptying pools

k Algae

a The regulations – assessment, provision and use

b Harmful effects – the potential risks to health from chemical exposure

c PPE – what to use and when, use of MSDS

d In an emergency – what to do for chemical contact/inhalation/ingestion

e Emergency showers and eye baths

f Toxic gasses, fires and explosions

g Spillages – PWTAG Code and technical guidance (sodium hypochlorite)

h PWTAG Code and emergency procedures – chemicals emergency part of the EAP

a Commercial spas – definition and comparison with domestic

b Basics – loading, turnover, filtration, and dilution

c Hydraulics – water flow and air flow

d Inlets and outlets – the risks from booster pumps

e Disinfection – types, levels, dosing and monitoring

f Microbiological testing – regulations, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Legionella

g HPA/HSE guidance

A wholly written exam shall at a minimum cover a fair representation of the essential topics as outlined in the theory element of the syllabus (above).