What Is A Heterotrophic Plate Count For Pool Water? [Updated!]

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If you’re like most people, you take your pool for granted. You swim and shower in it, so it’s only natural that you’d be interested in keeping it clean and clear of things that might be harmful to you or your family. There’s a lot more to maintaining a pool than meets the eye though. As with any other piece of real estate, there are considerations that you need to make. One important factor that influences the quality of your pool experience is the water itself. That’s why it’s important to understand what happens to the water when no one is around to use it. This article will tell you about a common maintenance issue that plagues most pool environments and how to properly keep track of it.

Heterotrophic Plate Count For Pool Water

Usually, when you get into your pool, the water is perfectly clear. There’s a layer of water that’s a few inches deep on all sides. You won’t normally see any dead leaves, twigs, or other debris at the surface. This is because most swimmers don’t remove this top layer of water when they leave the pool. As a result, it tends to accumulate organic matter as it sits there for hours on end. In other words, the water has a lot of bacteria in it. The amount of bacteria is usually expressed in colony-forming units (CFUs). One hundred percent of the time, there will be more bacteria in your pool than there is desirable. This is called the heterotrophic plate count for pool water. The general rule of thumb is that if the heterotrophic plate count for pool water is above 15,000 CFUs per 100mL, then it’s time for a fresh dose of chlorine.

How Does Water Bacteriology Work?

Simply put, when you get out of the water and the pool has more bacteria than when you first entered it, then your pool is inherently dirty. This is because as the water recirculates throughout the day, it picks up bacteria from the pool surfaces and other sources. When this happens, the heterotrophic plate count increases, meaning there are more bacteria present than there should be. If this is the case, then you need to do some basic water testing to figure out where the problem lies. Once you know what is wrong, you can work on fixing it. Fortunately, understanding and following proper water treatment ensures that this won’t happen. This is why it’s so important to keep track of the heterotrophic plate count for pool water.

Why Is The Heterotrophic Plate Count Important?

In addition to being visually unappealing, having a large amount of heterotrophic bacteria in your pool can be harmful to your health. To begin with, if you’re allergic to chlorine or other chemicals used in water treatment, then you might experience a rash or other symptoms. The skin irritations that result from these chemicals are more likely to cause you harm than most bacteria. In some cases, individuals with serious infections have been known to succumb to this complication. Even if you’re not allergic to chlorine, it’s still a bad idea to have too many living organisms in your pool. As pointed out by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), many of these bacteria are “indicators of organic pollution”. When this amount gets above a certain level, it usually means that there is an excess of organic matter in the water. This is often a result of poor water quality from surface runoff, leaks in the system, or a malfunctioning sewage treatment plant.

Heterotrophic Plate Count And Chlorine

When the heterotrophic plate count for pool water is above 15,000 CFUs per 100mL, then it’s time to worry. A healthy pool has a heterotrophic plate count of around 3,000-6,000 CFUs per 100mL. Anything above this amount is considered unsafe, especially for children and the elderly. In some cases, pools with a heterotrophic plate count of over 30,000 CFUs per 100mL have been known to cause diarrhea and other gastrointestinal problems. If you suspect that your pool is at risk of becoming infected, then chlorine should be the first line of defense. Most people use a combination of regular chlorine and bromine to keep their pools clean and free of bacteria. While these chemicals are effective at removing bacteria, they can also be harmful if overdosed. A reputable pool care company will have the expertise to advise you on how much chlorine and other chemicals to use based on the size and shape of your pool. One of the things that sets a reputable company apart from a fly-by-night operation is that they will have the proper equipment and know how to use it properly. This includes the appropriate testing equipment to find out the levels of chemicals in the water as well as information on how to operate the equipment. If you want to be sure that your pool is safe and bacteria-free, then it is crucial that you do your research and choose a well-established company that has a good reputation.

Harmful Bacteria In Your Pool

Due to its high concentration of organic matter, there are many different bacteria that can live in your pool. Some of these bacteria are relatively harmless, living in harmony with their host. In other cases, these bacteria cause illness in humans. When you swim in a pool with these latter strains of bacteria, then you run the risk of getting sick. This is especially dangerous for small children and the elderly, whose immune systems aren’t as robust as they should be. The following are some of the more common bacteria that you might find in your pool. These are generally classified as pathogens, meaning that they can cause harm to humans.

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