The Effects of Increasing pH in Pool/Spa Water

In the April issue of AQUA, the members of onBalance (Que Hales, Doug Latta and Kim Skinner) wrote a piece arguing that, for pool and spa water, a hard upper pH limit of 8.0 is overly restrictive. They claimed there should not be a wasteful mandate for closing down swimming pools when the pH is 8.0 to 8.5. We received this very well-considered response from commercial aquatics consultant Richard Young:

The April article shares some important issues about pH and cyanuric acid. The case of pH values of 8.0 having the same bacteria inactivation of water that has lower pH values has been argued for decades. There are some important points that need to be made about pH’s effect on the disinfection compound that is both wanted and needed in pool and spa water. This compound is “hypochlorous acid.”

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