Facility Dude

The best way to keep pools clean this summer

By FacilityDude
Jun 04, 2014

Facilities Management, Asset Management, Industry News

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Giving chemicals the boot in favor of natural pool cleaning solutions Good news for pool owners and facility managers when it comes to their pool maintenance. Thanks to a new eco-friendly, all-natural pool cleaning alternative, the days of swimmers with sensitive skin shying away from your pool may be coming to an end. A revised pool cleaning solution can help increase your pool facility efficiency while lowering your facility maintenance costs. Even better, you can cut down on the chlorine, so that the only thing turning green in your pool will be your maintenance strategy.

Moss-based maintenance

In recent years, more and more facility maintenance managers responsible for pools have been shelving their chlorine and other chemical-based cleaning solutions for an unlikely replacement in the form of a special kind of moss. The eco-friendly solution was developed by Minnesota-based surgeon Dr. David Knighton in 2007, and has been seeing more widespread use in larger commercial facilities as of 2008.

So how does it work? After all, doesn't it seem like filtering your pool water through moss would have the opposite effect of keeping it clean? Well, according to Dr. Knighton, the special sphagnum moss has natural antimicrobial properties that prevent bacteria and other harmful pool-fouling chemicals from developing in the water.

"Northern Minnesota is known for its clean clear lakes, and that's one of the reasons," Dr. Knighton told the New  York Times, citing the natural occurrence of sphagnum moss in the Minnesota ecosystem as one of the reasons for the state's famous clear lakes.

Why moss matters

Sphagnum moss has been demonstrated to be effective much the same way as chlorine and more conventional methods, but it also provides some unique benefits. While exact data on cost is yet to be determined, initial reports indicate that local commercial facilities that began using the treatment did notice a drop in both chemical costs and pool maintenance costs, The New York Times stated.

A bigger draw is that the sphagnum treatment contributes to overall greater efficiency of existing maintenance structures. The reduction in the water of harmful microbes means that roughly half the amount of chlorine traditionally needed is used. What's more, the moss also reduces iron levels in the water, keeping pipes and filters from rusting and corroding.

Places that implement the sphagnum moss maintenance treatment are also providing a benefit to people who use their facilities. The reduction in chlorine means a reduction in the telltale chlorine smell that is synonymous with pools everywhere. Fewer harsher chemicals also means less eye, skin and hair irritation. Sphagnum moss may not turn your pool facility into a crisp Minnesota lake, but it can help you make it more enjoyable for your guests and more cost-effective for you.

Huge kudos to the Dude client that brought this awesome new technique to our attention!

"The air quality in our natatorium was poor; it smelled like chlorine, everything was rusting, and it was irritating the lungs and skin of members and staff. I was desperate to improve it, so we decided to try moss. We did a baseline test of trichloramines before moss. We've had it for 6 weeks now and we've cut our chlorine use in half, the air quality is amazing , and swim team members and staff that had to use inhalers before no longer need them. Our last test showed trichloramine levels had dropped by half!" - Brian Dirksmeier, Property and Facility Specialist, Wood River Community YMCA 

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