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Thread: What is sterilizing the ocean

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    What is sterilizing the ocean

    very interesting post. i have built several salt water aquariums in my day. people use uv, ozone and protein skimmers to deal with organic waste and pathogens. dont know how this applies to a pool but you would need some powerful equipment to do it. what is sterilizing the ocean?
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    Re: Alternative sanitizers and "chemical free" pools--The Tr

    There's algae in lakes and seaweed in the ocean. I want neither in my pool!
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    Re: Alternative sanitizers and "chemical free" pools--The Tr

    well in tanks you can have an algae scrubber where the algae propagates, if run right the tank is unaffected

    what about pathogens in the ocean? algae isnt killing them
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    Ohm_Boy's Avatar
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    Re: Alternative sanitizers and "chemical free" pools--The Tr

    what about pathogens in the ocean? algae isnt killing them
    I don't really know, maybe nothing. Maybe the concentrations are just so low that they don't pose an immanent threat unless one is directly involved with a contamination area. Maybe the oceans are slowly filling with nasty biocontaminates which will eventually reach a dangerous concentration and kill us all.

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    Re: Alternative sanitizers and "chemical free" pools--The Tr

    hahahhaa. there are pathogens but u r right. very low concentration. there is still order int he world.
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    Re: What is sterilizing the ocean

    The ocean is a complex ecosystem with many different strains of bacteria/viruses struggling for existence. Most of the time the balance comes out such that nothing especially harmful to humans does at all well. However that is not always the case, beaches are closed now and then because of excesses of harmful pathogens.

    A swimming pool is a small and very unbalanced system. Without sanitizer pathogens can sometimes rapidly replicate and grow out of hand because they are not competing with other less harmful organisms.
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    Re: What is sterilizing the ocean

    Quote Originally Posted by JasonLion
    Most of the time the balance comes out such that nothing especially harmful to humans does at all well.
    That is the best quote ever, it makes you fully appreciate how perfectly balanced this planet is designed for us to live and thrive!!! There is a balance to it that nothing especially harmful, relatively speaking, happens to humans.
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    Re: What is sterilizing the ocean

    Another big difference is the water volume. When we swim in the ocean, our sweat, urine and fecal matter that we shed is diluted quickly and represents a small fraction of what is in the ocean overall. The ocean is also very salty so not everything that lives inside us does well there, but the same dilution argument holds for fresh-water lakes and rivers as well. Swimming pools are different because we are constantly introducing new bather waste into them and because they are an unbalanced unnatural ecosystem. So without disinfection, uncontrolled bacterial growth can occur. Also, with multiple bathers in a relatively much smaller volume of water, it's more likely for there to be person-to-person transmission of disease (mostly viruses and protozoan oocysts; for bacteria the issue is more one of uncontrolled growth so that we ingest more than our body can handle).

    Remember that without disinfection and oxidation of bather waste, we would be swimming in our own sweat, urine (not actually a problem even though it's gross to think about) and fecal matter just like taking a bath using the same water over and over again. Yech!

    Read this document from the CDC if you want to get an idea of various waterborne pathogens with real-life examples. A more complete list is found in the water-related diseases by type on this page.

    The irony is that when it comes to pools, we are the worst contributors to infection. That is, we either directly transmit our disease to someone else or we shed pathogenic bacteria that are "under control" in our own bodies, but grow to much higher concentration in a nutrient-rich pool and then we re-ingest it and can't handle its much higher concentration. If you kept people and other animals out of pools, they'd be a lot safer, but that defeats the whole purpose of having a swimming pool!
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