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Thread: Greetings! and Question

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    Greetings! and Question

    Greetings to this knowledgeable community.

    Thank you in advance for all your help, I have gained a great deal of knowledge in the past week from lurking and using the Pool School page.

    In a couple months I will be moving into a house that has an IG, indoor plaster pool (further described in my signature) I do not yet know any of the chemical levels of the water, or the exact sizes of pumps or filters that are installed.

    I do know, however, that there is a "Caribbean Clear" unit installed on the pool which appears to be a copper ion generator. I have read of SWCG systems, bromide, Bacquacil, ozone and other systems, but have come across very little information on these copper ion generator units. (1)What is the general opinion of these units today? Pros/Cons compared to other types of systems? Any input on whether I should try to get it working again or just go with chlorine, or replace it with a SWCG, or any combination of the above? Any problems I should suspect that the copper ion generator could have caused?

    (2)SWCG looks very interesting to me, but I am skeptical about whether or not this will cause increased corrosion in the pool. With plaster and concrete being porous, what kind of damage could this possibly do to the rebar in the pool walls? Or the heat exchanger?

    (3)Currently there is some green algae on the bottom of the pool (maybe 3 feet square) is it possible to get rid of this by shocking the pool? Would it be best to drain the pool? Ideally I would like to drain the pool and scrub but I am not sure how the well will hold up to refilling the pool.

    (4)The pool is in its own room detached from the house, it has its own HVAC system, a standard roof with two small skylights, but the walls are all glass. Will I be okay not using a chlorine stabilizer?

    Thanks again for all the help!
    8,700 gallon IG pool (including 2000 gallon spill-over spa), WetEdge Northshore Tahoe (Satin Matrix) finish, Hayward SwimPure Plus T-15, Jandy JXi 260k propane heater, Jandy FloPro 1.5HP 2 speed pump, Jandy CS 150 cartridge filter, TF-100, Borates added, BBB is the way for me!

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    Mod Squad zea3's Avatar
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    Re: Greetings! and Question

    Hi and welcome to TFP! I will answer your questions in this lovely color!

    Quote Originally Posted by BlueWave8
    Greetings to this knowledgeable community.

    Thank you in advance for all your help, I have gained a great deal of knowledge in the past week from lurking and using the Pool School page.

    In a couple months I will be moving into a house that has an IG, indoor plaster pool (further described in my signature) I do not yet know any of the chemical levels of the water, or the exact sizes of pumps or filters that are installed.

    I do know, however, that there is a "Caribbean Clear" unit installed on the pool which appears to be a copper ion generator. I have read of SWCG systems, bromide, Bacquacil, ozone and other systems, but have come across very little information on these copper ion generator units. (1)What is the general opinion of these units today? Most of us here do not recommend the use of copper ionazation for the following reasons: Copper builds up in the water over time and leads to problems with staining the pool surfaces and copper is what turns blond hair green.
    Pros/Cons compared to other types of systems?While copper is an algeacide, it will not be needed in a properly chlorinated pool Any input on whether I should try to get it working again or just go with chlorine, or replace it with a SWCG, or any combination of the above? Any problems I should suspect that the copper ion generator could have caused?Most of us would tell you to disconnect it. As for problems it may have caused, look for stains on the pool surface and have the water tested for copper levels.

    (2)SWCG looks very interesting to me, but I am skeptical about whether or not this will cause increased corrosion in the pool. With plaster and concrete being porous, what kind of damage could this possibly do to the rebar in the pool walls? Or my heat exchanger?The salt needed to generate chlorine should not cause damage to the structure of the pool. There have been some issues with salt water and some soft natural stones used as coping, so if you have stone around the pool you want to make sure it will tolerate salt water splashout.

    (3)Currently there is some green algae on the bottom of the pool (maybe 1.5 feet square) is it possible to get rid of this by shocking the pool? Would it be best to drain the pool? Ideally I would like to drain the pool and scrub but I am not sure how the well will hold up to refilling the pool. You should bring the pool to shock level and complete the shock process anytime you see algae in the pool. Brush the pool while shocking it scratch the surface of the algae and help the chlorine penetrate better. You do not want to drain the pool unless absolutely necessary. The shock process and brushing is usually enough to clean the pool.
    If you are on well water, you need to have it tested for metals. Metals in the water can cause staining that need treatment specific to the metal found in the water.


    (4)The pool is in its own room detached from the house, it has its own HVAC system, a standard roof with two small skylights, but the walls are all glass. Will I be okay not using a chlorine stabilizer? You want to have 20-30ppm of CYA in the water even if the pool is indoors. The stabilizer helps maintain consistent levels of chlorine throughout the day.


    Thanks again for all the help!
    TFP Moderator
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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Greetings! and Question

    The only thing I would add to what zea3 said, is that it is possible to run an indoor pool without any CYA, and many people do, we just don't recommend it.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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    Re: Greetings! and Question

    Welcome to TFP!!

    Please check out this post from the Further Reading section of Pool School.

    One quick point, the reason for CYA in an indoor pool is to keep the irritating, to eyes and mucous membranes, chloramines down (if memory serves ) and can be from 10 -20 ppm (but most kits can't measure that low).

    Let us know how you make out with the 'new' pool and please post a pic or 2 for us, so we can be jealous
    Luv& Luk
    -Ted

    Having done construction and service for 4 pool companies in 4 states starting in 1988, what I know about pools could fill a couple of books - what I don't know could fill a couple of libraries :-D

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    Re: Greetings! and Question

    I own a Copper Ion pool. I am very satisfied with it. And if done properly IE weekly testing and treating, one does not have to maintain any Chlorine level to have a healthy and safe pool (Copper Ions with proper weekly Oxidizing is safer, healthier, and more consistent then any Chlorine System without the toxic Chlorine and one never has unhealthy Combined Chlorine in the pool). That last sentence is going to bug those that believe that a pool has to be chlorine sterile to swim in or be safe, this just isn't the case. Ask anybody that swam in ponds, lakes and creeks all their life if toxic cancerous chlorine is required for healthy swimming. NASA's preferred way to purify water is with copper ions. Pool Stores and Pool Guys don't want you using Cooper Ions because they will never see you again. My pool is 20 by 40 and I used less then $200 in expendable chemicals last year (Baking Soda, Muriatic Acid, Bleach) on a pool open year round.

    And NO copper ions do not build up in the pool over time. One does not leave a Copper Ion generator on all the time like one does a SWG. The Copper Ionizer is only turned on when the level drops to 0.4 PPM and one turns it off a couple hours later when its back to 0.5 PPM. With proper pH (7.0 to 7.2 and never above 7.6) there can be not staining or scaling and again the Copper Ion level has to be through the roof at 10 time the EPA level for this to happen and one is only using one third of the maximum allowable EPA level. Both my better half and daughter have blonde hair and nobody has ever had green hair, in fact their hair is the best its ever been since we ditched Chlorine! That is just bad information spread by those that don't have a copper ion pool or those that didn't maintain it properly or left the generator on all the time. Get a timer that only allows it to run for four hours and only if you turn it on (IE not a weekly schedule timer but a single use duration timer) and you will be fine.

    Quote Originally Posted by BlueWave8
    Greetings to this knowledgeable community.

    Thank you in advance for all your help, I have gained a great deal of knowledge in the past week from lurking and using the Pool School page.

    In a couple months I will be moving into a house that has an IG, indoor plaster pool (further described in my signature) I do not yet know any of the chemical levels of the water, or the exact sizes of pumps or filters that are installed.

    I do know, however, that there is a "Caribbean Clear" unit installed on the pool which appears to be a copper ion generator. I have read of SWCG systems, bromide, Bacquacil, ozone and other systems, but have come across very little information on these copper ion generator units.

    (1) What is the general opinion of these units today? Pros/Cons compared to other types of systems? Any input on whether I should try to get it working again or just go with chlorine, or replace it with a SWCG, or any combination of the above? Any problems I should suspect that the copper ion generator could have caused?
    A proper Ion Generator does no cause any problems as long as one has the proper test kits and follows the simple weekly maintenance plan. Example for a Vinyl Pool, Monday: Test for 7.2 pH adjust pH if necessary. Wednesday: Same as Monday.
    Friday: Test pH for 7.2, treat is necessary. Test TA between 50 and 80. Will need to treat every 5 to 6 weeks. Test CH between 150 and 200, treat as necessary. Test Copper Ions for 0.5 PPM, turn on Copper Ionizer if need be. Treat for Clarity using 1 quart of Bleach per 8000 gallons (Hydrogen-Peroxide can be substituted for those wanting to be completely Chlorine Free). Both Bleach and Hydrogen-Peroxide are acting as an Oxidizing Agent so they are completely self-sacrificing and do not remain in the pool after treatment.

    Simple with no Chlorine Dry Skin or Chlorine in your enclosed space. More over no need for any CYA.

    Quote Originally Posted by BlueWave8
    (2) SWCG looks very interesting to me, but I am skeptical about whether or not this will cause increased corrosion in the pool. With plaster and concrete being porous, what kind of damage could this possibly do to the rebar in the pool walls? Or my heat exchanger?
    Why add all that salt and produce Chlorine indoors when you don't have to. I would go Copper Ion all the way. But again that's me. I know Copper Ions work when done properly because I own and maintained a large Copper Ion Pool.

    Quote Originally Posted by BlueWave8
    (3)Currently there is some green algae on the bottom of the pool (maybe 1.5 feet square) is it possible to get rid of this by shocking the pool? Would it be best to drain the pool? Ideally I would like to drain the pool and scrub but I am not sure how the well will hold up to refilling the pool.
    I would not drain a pool for a small algae problem. Follow the algae killing instructions in the Pool School. Basically super shocking and vacuuming up the dead algae. Once algae is gone, do the simple Copper Ion maintenance and never have algae again.

    Quote Originally Posted by BlueWave8
    (4)The pool is in its own room detached from the house, it has its own HVAC system, a standard roof with two small skylights, but the walls are all glass. Will I be okay not using a chlorine stabilizer?
    Again, no CYA, Stabilizers, or Conditioners are needed if you maintain a Copper Ion Pool. If you go with a Chlorine (SWG or Manual Chlorine) Pool, you will need CYA.

    A Copper Ion Pool is safe, healthy, softest water, closest to pH neutral, algae free, lowest maintenance, most cost effective swimming pool available. IMHO, it would be the best way to do an indoor residential pool.
    Pool #1 IG 24k Diamond Brite plaster with spill-over spa. Jandy Aqua Link RS One Touch with built into pool floor cleaner. Jacuzzi Magnum pump/basket feeding Hayward top mount Zeosand filter. Jacuzzi Magnum pump/basket for Spa Jets. Heat Siphon pool heat pump. Dolphin Robotic pool cleaner.

    Pool #2 IG 35K 20X40 Vinyl. Hayward top mount Zeosand filter with Pentair 3 HP IntelliFlo VS+SVRS. Chemical Free pool using Water Doctor Copper Ion Generator, PoolSkim, Polaris 9300 Sport robotic pool cleaner, Heat Siphon pool heat pump, solar blanket, Ameri-Dome 50X30 dome enclosure during Winter.

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    Re: Greetings! and Question

    Thank you to everyone for the great responses.

    iPhone: Is your copper ion generator in your vinyl pool or you plaster pool? Would you be any more concerned using a copper ion generator in your plaster pool? (in regards to staining?)
    Also my pool has a spa connected to it. Any thoughts on the copper ion generator in the spa environment?

    I understand the arguments against the copper ion generator, but since this is an indoor pool that is not exposed to much, and will have a light bather load, is it as much of a concern? The pool will still be shocked on a regular basis, correct?

    Would anyone else be more concerned than normal with copper ion generation in the spa environment? (Increased temperatures, higher bather to water ratio, etc.)

    I don't believe copper ion generation would be my first choice if I were starting from scratch, but since its already connected, I'd like to weigh all the pros and cons.
    8,700 gallon IG pool (including 2000 gallon spill-over spa), WetEdge Northshore Tahoe (Satin Matrix) finish, Hayward SwimPure Plus T-15, Jandy JXi 260k propane heater, Jandy FloPro 1.5HP 2 speed pump, Jandy CS 150 cartridge filter, TF-100, Borates added, BBB is the way for me!

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    JasonLion's Avatar
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    Re: Greetings! and Question

    iPhone, you are wrong on nearly every point. About the only thing I agree with you on is that I would never drain a pool for an algae problem.

    Using copper without chlorine, or some other approved sanitizer, is dangerous. Doing so is against the law in the US in a public pool because of this. Copper can kill algae, but it is not a sanitizer and will not kill bacteria or viruses quickly enough to be useful. You need something that will act as a sanitizer, killing bacteria and viruses. The only approved sanitizers in the US are chlorine, bromine, and baqua. Of the three chlorine is the best choice for nearly everyone.

    Copper at levels high enough to be effective against algae is at levels high enough to stain the pool should the PH ever go up. In most pools the PH tends to go up on it's own, so if you fail to pay attention for a couple of days you risk getting unsightly stains that are very difficult and expensive to remove. Many people active on the forum have gotten green hair from copper. It isn't 100% certain that you will, but it is more than likely when using copper.

    All of the problems you ascribe to chlorine come from using it improperly. When used appropriately it is practically impossible to notice that it is there at all.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: Greetings! and Question

    Iphone; Dude, seriously did you fall and hit your head?? You've been here long enough to know that copper isn't an approved sanitizer and isn't approved as such. Also, in practice, pools do build up copper to levels that create staining.

    You may indeed have a very clear pool but it could be deadly. You ever heard the stories about pioneers finding a clear pool of water and dying from drinking it. Just because you can keep it clear doesn't mean it's safe.

    Chlorine isn't the evil it's made out to be. Incorrect application is the reason it's gotten a bad rap.
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    Mod Squad zea3's Avatar
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    Re: Greetings! and Question

    Quote Originally Posted by iPhone

    A proper Ion Generator does no cause any problems as long as one has the proper test kits and follows the simple weekly maintenance plan. Example for a Vinyl Pool, Monday: Test for 7.2 pH adjust pH if necessary. Wednesday: Same as Monday.
    Friday: Test pH for 7.2, treat is necessary. Test TA between 50 and 80. Will need to treat every 5 to 6 weeks. Test CH between 150 and 200, treat as necessary. Test Copper Ions for 0.5 PPM, turn on Copper Ionizer if need be. Treat for Clarity using 1 quart of Bleach per 8000 gallons (Hydrogen-Peroxide can be substituted for those wanting to be completely Chlorine Free). Both Bleach and Hydrogen-Peroxide are acting as an Oxidizing Agent so they are completely self-sacrificing and do not remain in the pool after treatment.

    Simple with no Chlorine Dry Skin or Chlorine in your enclosed space. More over no need for any CYA.

    Iphone, bleach is chlorine! A quart of bleach in 8000 gallons of water would raise the FC to 2 ppm. I looked up the manufacture's website for Caribbean Clear and they only state you will need less chlorine, not that you do not need any.

    Also these are just two of many sites that discuss ionizers and state you must use chlorine or an approved sanitizer with any ion or mineral system.
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    Re: Greetings! and Question

    There are so many inaccuracies in iPhone's post that I'm going to have to address each one individually. Overall, please refer to this post that gives detailed accurate information from scientific papers published in respected journals about kill times for chlorine vs. copper ions vs. silver ions. The bottom line is that copper ions alone aren't just slow to kill bacteria, but at the concentration allowed in pools copper ions do not kill or even inhibit fecal bacteria at all. The reason is that pathogenic bacteria live in the human gut which is higher in copper ion levels than pools and therefore they have developed mechanisms for surviving and even thriving in such an environment. It's the other "good" bacteria that keep these pathogenic bacteria in check by competing for nutrients (and the body has other systems for dealing with bacterial infections -- not just copper ions). However, in a pool with sufficient nutrients, such bacteria can grow to numbers that can overwhelm the body's immune systems and cause disease.

    Metal ion systems are not allowed without an EPA-approved sanitizer in any commercial/public pool in the U.S. nor in Australia or in Canada or many other countries. There are no laws requiring you to use such a sanitizer in a residential pool -- if you want to get sick, the government is happy to let you do that since who are you going to sue -- yourself? It's similar to restaurant sanitary regulations for kitchens that aren't applied to residential kitchens. Please refer to the links in the post I referenced above that describe this in more detail. Metal ion products are only registered pesticides, not sanitizers/disinfectants, so while there are copper ion algaecide products, they cannot claim to be able to be used alone for sanitation without being in violation of FIFRA rules. Copper ions can be effective at controlling algae, BUT only at high enough concentrations that also risk staining of plaster surfaces unless the pH is maintained at a lower level. Such ions at pool concentrations are also not good against viruses nor protozoan oocysts (easier ones, like Naegleria and probably Giardia).

    As for swimming in ponds, lakes and creeks, there are many more cases (on a per-bather-hour basis) of diarrheal and other illnesses reported from such recreational waters compared to properly chlorinated pools, the only exception being Cryptosporidium parvum oocysts because they are very chlorine-resistant. Also, natural waters have a lot more water flow and volume relative to the bather load. A swimming pool is more like a large bathtub where you aren't changing the water; not a large lake that is hundreds to thousands times larger. While rare, there are serious infections and deaths from ponds, lakes and streams that you simply don't see coming from properly chlorinated swimming pools (see brain-eating amoeba Naegleria fowleri that copper and silver ions take at least 40 times longer to kill so may not kill faster than they can reproduce; see flesh-eating bacteria Vibrio vulnificus).

    As for water purification, the NASA system used copper and silver ions in combination to keep already clean water from allowing bacterial growth where there is a lot more time to disinfect without new introduction of additional pathogens. If copper ions alone are used (i.e. no silver ions and no solid copper surfaces), then fecal bacteria will not be killed. The copper ion industry sometimes tries to deceive the public by comparing the EPA approval of copper solid surfaces to their products (the mechanism for killing on copper surfaces is unique compared to copper ions) and to using studies on poultry where the copper ion concentrations used in feed are hundreds of times higher than the concentration allowed in pools. They count on people being ignorant and not getting to the truth.

    As for staining, as you noted you can avoid that by keeping the copper ion concentration at 0.4 ppm and the pH well below 7.6. However, it is not true that the copper ion concentration would have to be 10 times the EPA limit to get staining (such limit being 1.3 ppm so 10 times would be 13 ppm) unless your pH were well below 7.0. The level of copper needed to kill algae is near the limit at which it causes staining when the pH gets towards 7.8 or so, though this is also dependent on the specifics of the plaster surface since newer surfaces are still curing and have higher surface pH.

    There are many others who have come to this forum after using such various metal ion systems and though they sometimes are OK for a time, many have had problems with either staining or with algae or sometimes worse. At least Caribbean Clear in BlueWave8's pool is a combination copper/silver ion system which is better than having a copper-only system, but still not nearly as disinfected as using chlorine. Also note that Caribbean Clear is NSF/ANSI Standard 50 certified as listed here, but read the following notes for their product where the bold emphasis is mine:

    [1] Evaluated against NSF/ANSI Standard 50 as modified by NSF Procedural Modification Report
    PMR AG-050-0002. This PMR did not change the intent or performance requirements of the
    Standard, but did modify the labeling requirements. This PMR also specifically defined
    test methods not included in the current Standard. NSF Listed Ion Generators must be
    operated with a minimum 0.4 ppm chlorine or 0.8 ppm bromine.

    [2] "Chlorine-Free" logo only applicable when unit used with bromine or bromine compounds
    that do not contain chlorine.
    The Intec-America Water Doctor system used by iPhone is copper ions only (from ionization) so would not kill fecal bacteria as I noted earlier and is not NSF/ANSI Standard 50 certified.

    Richard
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    Re: Greetings! and Question

    Quote Originally Posted by chem geek
    There are no laws requiring you to use such a sanitizer in a residential pool -- if you want to get sick, the government is happy to let you do that since who are you going to sue -- yourself?
    I would like to point out that while a person might have a right to choose to use an unsanitary pool, they still have a fiduciary duty to others who would use the pool. If it's a competent adult, then you at least need informed consent. If it's a minor or otherwise (legally) incompetent person, then you should not allow them to use an unsanitary pool.

  12. Back To Top    #12
    Melt In The Sun's Avatar
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    Re: Greetings! and Question

    Quote Originally Posted by JamesW
    Quote Originally Posted by chem geek
    There are no laws requiring you to use such a sanitizer in a residential pool -- if you want to get sick, the government is happy to let you do that since who are you going to sue -- yourself?
    I would like to point out that while a person might have a right to choose to use an unsanitary pool, they still have a fiduciary duty to others who would use the pool. If it's a competent adult, then you at least need informed consent. If it's a minor or otherwise (legally) incompetent person, then you should not allow them to use an unsanitary pool.
    Agreed - thanks for pointing that out. I wonder if the manufacturer (or marketer) of one of these systems could potentially be found liable if something really bad were to happen.
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  13. Back To Top    #13

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    Re: Greetings! and Question

    There are FIFRA rules that require manufacturers making any claims of disinfection or killing bacteria to pass EPA DIS/TSS-12, but my point was that there are not laws requiring a residential pool owner to maintain a sanitary pool though in some jurisdictions there are laws against completely letting a pool go turning into a mosquito breeding ground, for example. You are right, of course, that if someone else uses your pool, then you are responsible for its condition and they could sue if they got sick, but that's similar to tripping and falling. The point was that there is no government inspector that is going to come out to your residence and haul you to jail, let alone fine you, if you are using a copper-only system, for example.

    Just to give you one example of the deceit used by some manufacturers, note that the table in this link on the Intec-America website regarding The Pool Doctor claims that Escherichia coli is killed by 0.20 ppm copper ions. However, in this scientific paper one can see even in the abstract (let alone the full paper I purchased) the following (bold emphasis mine):

    A 6 log10 reduction of E. coli was observed after 10- and 20-min exposures to 2.5 mg/L monochoramine and 0.8 or 0.4 mg/L cupric chloride, respectively. To achieve the same inactivation of E. coli using monochloramine alone, a concentration and contact time of 5 mg/L for 60 min was required. No inactivation of E. coli was observed after exposure to 0.4 or 0.8 mg/L cupric chloride after 60 min.
    In other words, monochloramine can kill the bacteria and does so more quickly when copper ions are present, but copper ions alone do not kill fecal bacteria at copper ion concentrations found in pools. This paper showed a 3-log reduction in E.coli (wild-type strain) in 1 minute only above 500 mM (31,773 mg/L or ppm copper), but one cannot extrapolate here because E.coli cells have a mechanism for handling copper ions at a certain rate and therefore concentration (i.e. at low concentrations copper ions don't have any measurable kill effect). This paper gives a MIC (minimal inhibitory concentration) of copper ions of 1.3 mM to 3.5 mM depending on strain, but even 1.3 mM is 82.6 ppm copper. This information is in this post I referred to earlier along with additional papers showing copper being completely ineffective at pool concentrations against not only Escherichia coli, but also Enterococcus faecalis and Staphylococcus aureus as well as some phenotypes of Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

    Note also that the Intec-America "Coliform & Bacteria" page often refers to copper and silver, but their The Water Doctor ionization system is copper alone.

    I have been having an extensive E-mail conversation with one of the people at Intec-America regarding this incorrect information on their website which is why I said that some manufacturers attempt to deceive the public. In their responses, they have yet to provide a single scientific source showing that fecal bacteria are killed or even inhibited by copper ions at pool concentrations. Instead, they have referred to poultry studies at much higher concentrations and to solid copper alloy surface references that do not apply and to a copper/silver ion combination that is legitimately effective (slower than chlorine, but at least kills fecal bacteria) but does not apply to their system which is copper-only. It's been a very frustrating conversation where I believe the next step will be to report FIFRA violations to the EPA since Intec-America makes bacteria kill claims on their website. However, ionization systems are not a registered pesticide (even though they produce metal ions) so may not come under EPA's jurisdiction. This is similar to saltwater chlorine generator (SWG) systems that similarly are not EPA-registered even though they produce chlorine.

    BlueWave8, your system is a copper/silver combo, but as noted in an earlier post, the NSF Standard 50 certification still requires chlorine to be used with it. If you do end up using the Caribbean Clear system (even though you don't need it), then you'll have to maintain the pH to stay low in order to prevent staining and will also need to monitor the copper ion levels to make sure they aren't getting too high. The fact that you saw some algae in the pool is not a good sign as it probably means that the system isn't operating properly to maintain a consistent copper level. Of course, if you use chlorine in the pool you won't have any problem with algae even if you don't use the metal ion system at all.
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