It’s starting to warm up up here in the northeast, and that means pool season is just around the corner. But as sublime as swimming is, what about those pool chemicals? The thought niggles me.
Pool chemicals include various kinds of disinfectants and sanitizers which work to control the growth of certain kinds of algae and bacteria in the pool water. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, chlorine can be a potent irritant in humans to the eyes, the upper respiratory tract, and the lungs; while chronic hazards include respiratory effects, such as eye and throat irritation, and airflow obstruction. There have been a number of studies linking chlorine to reproductive issues and cancer, but the EPA has not classified it as threat.
There is a variety of new systems designed to provide an alternative to traditional pool chemicals, including the natural oxygen ECOsmart pool purification system, salt water pool chlorinators, and mineral based purification systems.
But of all of these, nothing can quite compare to a Natural Swimming Pool. These have been popular in Europe for some time, and are starting to catch on in the United States now as well. They present a swimming pool that is part pool, part pond–minus the muddy bottom. They are stunning.
These chemical-free pools offer a balanced, self-cleaning ecosystem that relies on a natural cycle to clean and purify the water. Most commonly, the swimming area is separated from a planted, biological filter area, while a waterfall offers aeration. A skimmer collects large debris and a UV sterilizer polishes off the water cleaning process and assures biological safety.
According to an article in The New York Times, the pools have skimmers and pumps that circulate the water through the regeneration zone and draw it across a wall of rocks, loose gravel or tiles, to which friendly bacteria attach, serving as an additional biological filter. Unlike artificial ponds, which tend to be as murky with groundwater runoff and sediment from soil erosion as the natural ponds they’re modeled on, in a natural pool the water is clear enough to see through to the bottom.
Natural swimming pools cost about the same in construction as a regular swimming pool, but end up saving the pool owner in chemical costs. Water landscaping is also an added bonus, and truly, they are just about the prettiest thing you might want to see in your backyard!