• City of Sydney Aquatic Centres

    CHEMTROL controller reduces energy consumption and protect bathers at City of Sydney aquatic facilities


    Client: City of Sydney

    Facility: Cook & Phillip Park Pool, Ian Thorpe Aquatic Centre (ITAC)

    Equipment: CHEMTROL PC5100 programmable controllers

    The City of Sydney manages five aquatic centres for the community, all which have 50-metre pools for lap swimming as well as smaller pools for learners and leisure seekers. They have a responsibility to keep millions of bathers safe, and must meet mandatory public health obligations – specifically the Public Health Act 2010 and Public Health Regulation 2012, which cover the public health risk associated with public swimming and spa pools in NSW. The City of Sydney also has ambitious goals regarding sustainability and reducing energy use. 

    With this in mind Sandy Armstrong, Sustainability & Operations Manager, has been looking for a solution that could help reduce energy consumption, help control UV operation and provide reliable and consistent readings with remote monitoring and control functionality. The initial installation was at Cook + Phillip Park Pool in June/July 2019. 

    This was reviewed after six months, with a decision to purchase more controllers and install these at the Ian Thorpe Aquatic Centre (ITAC) in Ultimo. They found that the units not only reduced energy usage, but also helped them to monitor and control features like:

    • Automated shock treatment
    • Water flow indication display with alerts
    • Water level alerts
    • Temperature display with alerts 

    Cook & Phillip leisure pool  –  Image: City of Sydney

    Before we get into the details of this case study, it is useful to first understand ultraviolet (UV) systems.

    UV sanitation systems

    Ultraviolet (UV) systems are an efficient option when it comes to disinfecting and sanitizing pool water, and are valued for their ability to target harmful bacteria and other microorganisms. UV systems are installed into the pool filtration system, with the water running through the unit before it enters the pool. Here a UV bulb uses ultraviolet rays to target and kill bacteria that have become chlorine-resistant. UV sanitation systems are valued by aquatic facilities for:

    • Requiring fewer chemicals
    • Being a low maintenance option
    • Efficient sanitation and disinfection

    They do however draw a fair amount of power when they are operating, which can lead to significant energy usage – especially if they are constantly in use. The reality is that UV systems only need to operate when Combined Chlorine levels are high, e.g. more than 0.8ppm. In practice pool and spa UV systems often operate continuously or for long periods – when there is no need, and facilities have to foot the associated energy bill.

    By only activating the UV system when required, e.g. when levels pass 0.8ppm – operators can realise significant energy savings. When measurements are between 0 ppm – 0.8ppm, our programmable controllers – specifically the PC5100, can ensure the UV unit remains idle and does not draw any power. Operators can of course decide the required Combined Chlorine levels and program the controller accordingly.

    Remote control functionality: PC5100 programmable controller

    Tell us about your facilities, and what operational challenges you face?

    There are three pools at Cook & Phillip facility:

    • Pool 1 is a 50 meter lap pool of 1,500K litre
    • Pool 2 is a leisure pool of 780K litre
    • Pool 3 is a kids pool of 150K liter

    There are three pools at Ian Thorpe:

    • Pool 1 a 50 metre lap pool of 1,500K litres
    • Pool 2 is a leisure pool of 1,170K litres
    • Pool 3 is a warm water pool of 850K liter

    All are indoors and heated.

    Ian Thorpe Aquatic Centre  –  Image: City of Sydney

    In addition to chlorine dosing and filtration, each pool utilises a UV system to disinfect and sanitize the water. The UV component is very efficient at disinfection but they are a major component of our facilities energy consumption. They work on 3 phase power and draw something in the order of 5 Kv, which is a huge amount. 

    ” The UV component is very efficient at disinfection but they are a major component of our facilities energy consumption “

    Cook & Phillip 50 meter pool  –  Image: City of Sydney

    How did installing these controllers help you?

    After chatting to Kobby and reviewing the functionality of the PC5100 programmable controller we realised these units could help us reduce our energy consumption by reducing the time the UV units operate. The main benefit here is that we reduce energy usage and save a lot of money – given that the UV system uses significant amounts of electricity when they are operating. 

    Chloramine build up in our pools and spas is another issue the controllers will help us manage. The PC5100 has both Free and Total chlorine readings, so we can view the Combined chlorine level linked to the UV system in order to operate only when necessary. So the UV system turns ON when combined chlorine reaches 0.8 – and then turns back OFF when it decreases to 0.5. This way the UV system works ONLY when it is required, rather than 24/7. With these controllers installed, our facility is now able to make significant energy savings. 

    ” They also help ensure peace of mind as we know from 6 months of monitoring that they perform extremely accurately and reliably “

    Installed PC5100 controllers on site – Ian Thorpe aquatic facility

    Sustainability is a big issue for your operation?

    Absolutely, especially with rising power prices. Our commitment for continued energy and emissions savings means that the CHEMTROL controllers help us obtain the best, low-cost outcome. This installation also helps us to improve and tune an existing control system, by reducing the running hours of the UV system. This is a goal of the Energy Efficiency Master Plan, a supporting document of the City of Sydney’s Environmental Action 2016 – 2021 Strategy and Action Plan. 

    ” With these controllers installed our facility is now able to make significant energy savings “

    Installed PC5100 controller on site – Cook & Phillip facility /Leisure pool

    CHEMTROL® PC5100 programmable controller

    The PC5100 is a fully programmable PLC controller designed for commercial pools and spas, featuring a single integrated command center designed around a powerful microprocessor. This has the ability for complete automatic control of water chemistry, dual PPM control with UV, pH, ORP, TDS, water balance, water saturation, as well as heating and temperature monitoring.
    Our remote monitoring web-server allows you to control and monitor your facility 24/7 from a PC or any mobile device, with true duplex remote operation that mirrors the controller display on your PC/ mobile device and with the ability to receive status reports and automatic alerts by email and/or text message. It also has a user-friendly main screen display that enables you to monitor and control all the process functions at a glance and respond to prevailing conditions. 

    This controller has a 5 year electronics warranty.

    CHEMTROL App / PC5100 Controller display

    The City of Sydney has ambitious goals regarding sustainability, outlined in its Sustainable Sydney 2030 strategy document. This looks to address a range of issues across the city, including transitioning to a low-carbon economy, being water sensitive and climate resilient and encouraging residents to become zero waste. More broadly, they have set the following targets for the entire City of Sydney:

    • 50% of electricity to be renewable by 2030
    • 70% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2030
    • net zero emissions by 2050

    The City of Sydney operates 5 aquatic centres across the city, all with 50 metre pools for lap swimming as well as smaller pools for learners and leisure seekers.

    Get in touch for advice on the best programmable controller for your aquatic facility, that way we can provide a competitive pricing solution based on the functionality you need.