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Thread: Copper Not Chlorine ???

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    Copper Not Chlorine ???

    Has anyone ever heard of this? According to our pool start up guy, he was asked to take care of a very old pool (owned by a 91 year old gentleman who swam every day) but it used copper instead of chlorine. Now I have to go research this - it sounds so interesting. - Karen
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    Mod Squad JohnT's Avatar
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    Re: Copper Not Chlorine ???

    Interesting, but not safe. Copper is pretty good at keeping algae out of the pool, but not so good at killing other pathogens that present more danger to the bathers. Copper in the water is what causes green hair and nails, and can cause staining of the pool surface. Copper does nothing chlorine doesn't do, but chlorine is a far superior sanitizer.
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    Mod Squad JVTrain's Avatar
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    Re: Copper Not Chlorine ???

    Less effective at killing algae, ineffective at killing other pathogens, stains hair green, stains pool surface and can only be removed by completely draining or many partial drains. What's not to like?
    Joel - TFP Moderator - Minnesota - **Become a TFP Supporter!** Helpful Links: ABCs of Pool Water Chemistry - SLAM Procedure - Chlorine/CYA Chart
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    Re: Copper Not Chlorine ???

    Apparently the 91 year old was immune to pathogens!
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    Re: Copper Not Chlorine ???

    As described in this post, copper ions do not kill fecal bacteria and they only kill other bacteria slowly and are not effective against viruses nor protozoa. The EPA allows products with copper to only claim to be an algaecide or to inhibit or control "non-public health bacteria". It's a spectrum of risk and not properly disinfecting water is not guaranteed to be a health hazard but it significantly increases the risk from being close to zero to being a small risk. Of course, if you're the one who gets sick, statistics aren't much of a comfort.
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    Divin Dave's Avatar
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    Re: Copper Not Chlorine ???

    If you use copper and your hair turns green, then you have to have a treat your hair with ketchup to get the green out. Really, you do!
    Divin Dave,
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    Swampwoman's Avatar
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    Re: Copper Not Chlorine ???

    And if you use copper and it stains your pool....

    Citric acid/ascorbic acid won't always work (though that's why ketchup work on hair ...)
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    Re: Copper Not Chlorine ???

    My hair would most definitely turn green and then I'd be walking around smelling like tomatoes all the time! I just found the concept fascinating as I had no idea that people even did this. The pool guy said it was a nightmare for him to maintain, and that he didn't really want to do it - even marked up his prices to discourage getting the account but the owner still wanted it done.
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    Re: Copper Not Chlorine ???

    This post lists some of the threads on this forum where there were problems with copper staining or with green hair from copper. It also links to a paper that explains how copper stains hair.
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