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Thread: Tulum, MX. Trouble maintaning Cl pools in the (real)jungle

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    Tulum, MX. Trouble maintaning Cl pools in the (real)jungle

    Hello dear friends from TFP!
    I'm Ivan Garcia, an ex-IT consultant with expertise in datacenter design from Barcelona, who needed a change after spending too much time working & living -kinda- in Boston and NYC. Three months ago I started a property maintenance business for a development in the jungle in Tulum, MX. Jungle means lots of monkeys, birds, snakes, spiders and craaazy insects and bugs. And very, very humid. Pure nature, completely isolated from the modern world (except for the satellite internet connectivity).
    The development consists of 200 lots of 5-acres each, but owners are only allowed to clear 5%, helping avoiding this beautiful jungle to disappear. All lots are sold, and it is expected to have around 150 houses in the next 4-5 years. At the moment, there's 8 houses completed, and 10 more to be completed in the next 6 months.
    All the houses are 100% off-the-grid, meaning they have to generate their own electricity (solar energy is a must), collect and purify their own water (although there's few trucks that can deliver water from town if it's necessary. 4000 litres=600 pesos/50 bucks) and wastewater treatment (following EPA regulations as a reference. We have cenotes here!). GREEN at its best. Most of my clients are wealthy people who are very environmentally conscious, but still demand the (almost) same comfort levels as if they were living in the city, which is very tricky to deal with.

    Renewable energy systems...easy to me. I have expertise on that. But pools... that has been a challenge! I've never imagined how tricky and complex a pool could be.
    I've been learning based on "cause of error" method, as I had little idea on how you maintain a pool. Initially I hired a local business to maintain the pools, but they did nothing except cleaning filters, pouring tons of chlorine every week and reducing PH, as the owners only come 2-3 months a year. So I fired them and decided to learn about pools and do it by myself. I can say that by now I know the basics about the subject but still, everytime I read something in this forum, I can see I don't know s**t, but I'm getting there

    All the pools use chlorine, and it's been very hard to find the way to maintaing each of them, as they are build with different materials and have different sizes (10000 l to 70000l), algae grows a lot here, and the pumps they use are solar pumps. They use DC, as they are connected to a solar panel, so that means that NO SUN=NO PUMP, and during rainy season, that's really really tricky.

    I'm working with different constructors and the HOA of the development to find a way to build chlorine-free pools (or almost free), as everytime I have to backwash the filter, all this chlorine goes to the jungle (it's the only water that it's not being treated), and this is not cool at all. Now there's only 7 pools, but with 150 pools, that will be unsustainable.

    So, if anybody is still reading at this point... any ideas??? I like the idea of ozone, and although you have to still use some chlorine, it seems you reduce about 80% of its usage, plus ozonizers doesn't use more that 200 watts, for what I've seen. I don't know... Any comments, ideas, suggestions will be greatly appreciated! ANYTHING!!!
    And if any pool professional from the US is thinking about changing the city for the jungle, just let me know. I have plenty of work here but I will only let true professionals do it or I'll do it by myself. Mayans are still not ready for infinity pools

    Thanks a lot, guys. Congrats to TFP. Such a great source of information! Keep goin'!

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    y_not's Avatar
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    Re: Tulum, MX. Trouble maintaning Cl pools in the (real)jung

    WOW!! Sounds amazing! I admire your ethic of not wanting to affect the rainforest with the CL treated water.

    Are there no ion-property sumps that it can be drained into when backwashing? Something that would filter out the CL via trickle effect down through rocks. It would be most ideal in this situation to use SWCG units and make it a salt pool. While it still uses CL, generated via electrolysis of the high salinity water, it would eliminate the need for regular dosing of liquid CL. Use of a cartridge filter would be much preferred over any other type, as they don't require "backwashing". The only waste water that would come out of them, would be when you hose it off to clean the gunk from the pleats. Any residual CL or salt would be utterly negligible.
    If you get a large enough array of cartridges for the filter and pool size, you would only have to do this once a year. At least here in the states and most other developed areas. It may be different down there.

    I would also suggest looking into "natural pools", just Google it. Tons of stuff on them. Basically they use a natural aquatic plantscape to clean and filter the water. Eliminating the need for CL, the plants are kept separately from the swimming area. The water isn't that crystal blue that people have come to expect from a pool, but it is clean. You can even convert an existing traditional pool to this system.
    It's quite amazing. I don't have any personal experience with them, other than what I have learned about them through research.
    But they're becoming quite the popular and desirable thing.
    Thanks for reading... - Tony
    Da' Pool: Intex 15'x42" 3284gal AGP EasySet (Inflatable Ring) - (Summer 2014: 27' round EW /w 6.5' deep end @ 22,500gal)
    Pump & Cart Mod: 1000gph Cart. 5ft² - 2 nylons, 24/7 OP. Traps bugs/bits, lasts longer/cleans easier = Happier Pool Owner!!
    The Bible for a "Trouble Free Pool" life = PoolSchool, the BBB method a TF100 test kit(Recommend Kits Compared). - Cleaning a Sand Filter
    Water looks like GLASS, if yours doesn't...SLAM IT! Feels nice and never been happier!!! :D

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    Re: Tulum, MX. Trouble maintaning Cl pools in the (real)jung

    Quote Originally Posted by y_not
    I would also suggest looking into "natural pools", just Google it. Tons of stuff on them. Basically they use a natural aquatic plantscape to clean and filter the water. Eliminating the need for CL, the plants are kept separately from the swimming area. The water isn't that crystal blue that people have come to expect from a pool, but it is clean. You can even convert an existing traditional pool to this system.
    It's quite amazing. I don't have any personal experience with them, other than what I have learned about them through research.
    But they're becoming quite the popular and desirable thing.
    See Natural Swimming Pools. These are NOT disinfected so really should not be called swimming pools at all. They are really artificial ponds. They will not prevent person-to-person transmission of disease so wouldn't be good for larger commercial/public pools but for residential pools the number of affected persons from one infected individual would be limited.
    16,000 gallon outdoor in-ground 16'x32' plaster pool; Pentair Intelliflo VF pump; Pentair IntelliTouch i9+3s control system; Jandy CL-340 square foot cartridge filter
    12 Fafco solar panels; Purex Triton PowerMax 250 natural gas heater (200,000 BTU/hr output); automatic electric pool safety cover; 4-wheel pressure-side "The Pool Cleaner"

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    Re: Tulum, MX. Trouble maintaning Cl pools in the (real)jung

    Pretty interesting stuff. I would love to see some pics of the properties and jungle. It sounds like you have some challenges ahead of you. If you read this site enough you'll see that chlorine is really the only product that they recomend. As mentioned above cartridge filters would solve the backwash problem.
    11,872 Gallon IG Shotcrete play pool
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    Mod Squad Bama Rambler's Avatar
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    Re: Tulum, MX. Trouble maintaning Cl pools in the (real)jung

    Y_not's suggestion of a cartridge filter might work but if you can't control the pool well all the time it may not help much as you would be using a lot of water cleaning them when you have an algae outbreak. One thing you could do is require installation of a catch basin to pump the backwash water into and let it sit until the sun burns the chlorine off and then pump it out or filter and reuse it. There are ways to prevent the chlorine from entering the environment but it may require a little out of the box thinking.
    Dave J. TFP Moderator
    24' x 52" Round AGP. 2hp/¼hp SPL Power-Flo 2-speed pump. 200sqft Waterway Cartridge Filter. 45MHP2(3GPD) Stenner Peristaltic Pump
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    Re: Tulum, MX. Trouble maintaning Cl pools in the (real)jung

    It's easy to dechlorinate and one doesn't need to use environmentally unfriendly chemicals such as sodium thiosulfate. One can readily dechlorinate with hydrogen peroxide where the result is just chloride (salt), oxygen gas and water.
    16,000 gallon outdoor in-ground 16'x32' plaster pool; Pentair Intelliflo VF pump; Pentair IntelliTouch i9+3s control system; Jandy CL-340 square foot cartridge filter
    12 Fafco solar panels; Purex Triton PowerMax 250 natural gas heater (200,000 BTU/hr output); automatic electric pool safety cover; 4-wheel pressure-side "The Pool Cleaner"

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    y_not's Avatar
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    Re: Tulum, MX. Trouble maintaning Cl pools in the (real)jung

    Quote Originally Posted by chem geek
    It's easy to dechlorinate and one doesn't need to use environmentally unfriendly chemicals such as sodium thiosulfate. One can readily dechlorinate with hydrogen peroxide where the result is just chloride (salt), oxygen gas and water.
    Good stuff Chem Geek!!
    What about the salt content though? Will the salinity be high enough that it would cause a problem with vegetation?

    Also, how much peroxide and what percentage solution in relation to FC should one use? And if there are CCs present, then what?
    Lastly, what about breaking down the CYA in the water, can that be done?

    Thanks CG for the data.
    Thanks for reading... - Tony
    Da' Pool: Intex 15'x42" 3284gal AGP EasySet (Inflatable Ring) - (Summer 2014: 27' round EW /w 6.5' deep end @ 22,500gal)
    Pump & Cart Mod: 1000gph Cart. 5ft² - 2 nylons, 24/7 OP. Traps bugs/bits, lasts longer/cleans easier = Happier Pool Owner!!
    The Bible for a "Trouble Free Pool" life = PoolSchool, the BBB method a TF100 test kit(Recommend Kits Compared). - Cleaning a Sand Filter
    Water looks like GLASS, if yours doesn't...SLAM IT! Feels nice and never been happier!!! :D

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    Re: Tulum, MX. Trouble maintaning Cl pools in the (real)jung

    The salt content will be mostly based on the salt already in the pool from cumulative use of chlorine. The amount added/converted from dechlorinating will be negligible by comparison. Salt is an issue for some plants and higher salt levels from saltwater chlorine generator (SWG) pools at around 3000 ppm are more of a problem than non-SWG pools that are more typically in the 1000-1500 range for salt (sometimes up to 2000 depending on the amount of regular water dilution). One can avoid problems of salt buildup by regular watering, so don't dump a lot of pool water all at once in one place.

    It takes roughly the same volume of 3% hydrogen peroxide to neutralize the Free Chlorine (FC) from the same volume of 6% bleach. If you overdose some, then just have that water exposed to sunlight and the hydrogen peroxide will break down, but it's less of a problem since even when it oxidizes something it doesn't produce chlorinated disinfection by-products.

    The CYA is not a problem and the soil bacteria will love it and break it down readily into ammonia or ammonium ions (think nitrogen in fertilizer) and carbon dioxide or bicarbonate ions though other bacteria may continue to break the nitrogen (ammonia) down to nitrite, nitrate and/or nitrogen gas.
    16,000 gallon outdoor in-ground 16'x32' plaster pool; Pentair Intelliflo VF pump; Pentair IntelliTouch i9+3s control system; Jandy CL-340 square foot cartridge filter
    12 Fafco solar panels; Purex Triton PowerMax 250 natural gas heater (200,000 BTU/hr output); automatic electric pool safety cover; 4-wheel pressure-side "The Pool Cleaner"

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    Re: Tulum, MX. Trouble maintaning Cl pools in the (real)jung

    Hello Ivan
    A friend sent me this link today and we are one of the lucky homeowners in this development. We will live there for 6 months to start , snow birds from Canada, and then who knows. We have just started construction of our home with Permaculture construction. We did think of a pool but maintaining was a concern. Since the development is eco conscious chlorine is not a good thing. But natural pools is what our builder is looking at. He just built the huge actresses home with natural pool cenote. Like you said with plants that will clean the water. We are having a natural wetlands septic system using plants and rocks and gravel with composting. High end with a low flush composting toilet. Art of the future called a humedal. Which they have used for centuries in the Yucatan. No pumping just natural composting with no smells.
    I would be interested in your property management. PM me

    thanks and so excited to do this project. My hubby and I live on an acerage here in canada and were on a watershed committee for our lake. So have knowledge of the importance of plants cleaning the lake.

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