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Thread: Algae is GOOD for your POOL!!!!!

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    Algae is GOOD for your POOL!!!!!

    Mods, really could not find a place for this article, but I think its notable news, move it as you see fit

    Swimming Pools Kept Clean by Going Green
    Jessica Marshall, Discovery News

    Oct. 28, 2009 -- An unmistakable chlorine "pool smell" used to greet swimmers when they arrived the Oxford Community Center in St. Paul, Minn. "Now you don't smell it anymore," said Lynn Waldorf, aquatics director for the City of Saint Paul.
    Meanwhile, at the city's outdoor pool, asthma sufferers reported less need for their inhalers last summer due to the reduction of the use of chlorine.
    The secret to the pools' new reputation is the same thing that makes the state's northern lakesso clear: The pools now rely on sphagnum moss to clean the water.
    The technology was developed by Creative Water Solutions, which is based out of Plymouth, Minn.
    "People started stopping me and saying, 'What are you doing? The water is great,'" said Waldorf.
    "We kind of make a little mini-bog off of the pool where the water passes through very slowly, and the moss conditions it and enhances it."
    Sphagnum moss acts to inhibit the growth of microbes in the pool, says founder and CEO of Creative Water Solutions, David Knighton, who is also a surgeon.

    He initially became intrigued by sphagnum moss after reading that injured World War I soldiers whose wounds were packed with moss had greater survival rates than those whose wounds were packed with cotton.
    "I knew from my years working with wound healing that it had to be antimicrobial," Knighton said.
    His first interest was in medical applications, but Knighton, who is also a pilot, suspected that the moss might be helpful in conditioning water after flying northward over Minnesota's many lakes.
    "As I went north, they got cleaner and cleaner," he said. "I wondered: 'Well, maybe it's the moss?'"
    Frustrated that he could not keep his home spa chlorine levels stable, he tossed some sterilized moss in. "Within ten days, it cleaned up the spa."
    The moss readily absorbs heavy metals, including iron, which often encourages microbial growth. Without any iron in the water, microbes can't

    But, more importantly, Knighton says, the moss also prevents the growth of biofilm, mats of bacteria that stick to pool surfaces and coat the inside of pipes, causing corrosion.
    Biofilm absorbs the chlorine added to the pool, requiring increasing amounts of chlorine to maintain the required levels in the pool water.
    As biofilm disappears from the pool with the use of moss, chlorine requirements decline.
    "The moss allows chlorine to do its job," Knighton said. "The amount of chlorine you need decreases by 50 percent."
    The Saint Paul outdoor pool saved around $35,000 in chemical costs this summer, Waldorf said. Meanwhile, revenue increased $100,000 as more swimmers visited the pool.
    Knighton's business first targeted home spas (hot tubs) and pools. The Saint Paul pools were the first test of the system at a larger scale.
    However, this is just the beginning of the applications Knighton has in mind. He is also targeting spa manufacturers, who fill their spas with water for testing in the factory.
    Some of the water used in testing remains in the spas, where biofilm forms. This means home spas start out with a dose of biofilm before they're ever used.
    Installing moss treatment in the factories could prevent this initial contamination, he said. A trial with one spa manufacturer reduced the initial biofilm load by 95 percent.
    Knighton is also testing poultry watering systems to see if treating the water with moss changes the quality of the eggs and meat that result.
    He has developed a system for treating home water supplies that has been installed on a trial basis in about 20 homes. "I've had moss in my house for two years, and people think I have bottled water," he said.
    Any industry that uses water could potentially benefit from moss treatment. Knighton wants to install his system on the cooling water at a power plant to test its effects on the water there.
    For now, Knighton's products are filled with moss from New Zealand, where there is already a sphagnum moss harvesting industry in place. Moss is harvested by hand and flown out by helicopter to prevent damage to the bogs where the moss grows.
    Knighton is currently lobbying Minnesota officials to develop regulations for sustainable moss harvest. "Northern Minnesota is the Saudi Arabia of moss," he said.
    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
    Don
    Scottsdale, AZ
    Pool: 23,500 gal, plaster, built in '75, diving pool, DE system, 1 HP pump all original except the DE tank.

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    Re: Algae is GOOD for your POOL!!!!!

    (It is best to attribute the source with a link when possible)

    Most likely, the primary reason for the reduction in chlorine usage is that this is a commercial/public pool with heavy bather load that previously used sand filters. These filters sometimes get serious biofilms and channeling and such biofilms can consume copious amounts of chlorine (i.e. a lot of bacterial film to oxidize). There are other ways to prevent biofilms in filters such as using materials that inhibit algae growth such as Active Filter Media (AFM) from Dryden Aqua. One can also more frequently inspect their sand filter and churn the sand to reduce channeling or otherwise figure out why the flow through the filter is not even since fundamentally that is what allows the bacteria to grow in the first place (that, and near zero chlorine levels). The other possibility is that the CYA levels got too high and nascent algae growth was consuming the chlorine. Part of what Creative Water Solutions does may be recommending not using any CYA (based on some of their posts; see below) and that, of course, will have the active chlorine level be higher and kill any nascent algae.

    I've been in E-mail conversation with the VP of sales and marketing for Creative Water Solutions as they were claiming that most water problems were due to biofilms and were posting this on several threads on another pool and spa forum (see here for example). Though claiming a filter medium that prevents biofilm formation is one thing, claiming that it prevents biofilms on pool surfaces in the bulk pool water area is quite another and doesn't make any sense (though the claim is that certain metals such as iron are removed that are essential for bacterial growth). Also, the claims that it is the buildup of biofilm that is why people must change their spa water every 3 months is simply not true. It's mostly due to the buildup of CYA from Dichlor-only use and the resulting slower oxidation and sanitation. There are quite a few spa users using the Dichlor-then-bleach method who are able to get at least twice as much time from their water (6 months or more) and when they change the water it is hardly noticeable (meaning it's still in very good shape and probably didn't even have to be changed).

    So if I get any contact with the founders who are the scientist/doctor folks, then perhaps we can get to the bottom of what's really going on.

    Richard
    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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    PVille's Avatar
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    Re: Algae is GOOD for your POOL!!!!!

    I went to the web site and watched the video and did some reading. The first half of the video seems plausible and very scientific when discussing how the biofilm can build up. Then they introduce their product and we are lead to believe the biofilm disappears as if by magic because there is no more science describing how it actually helps remove the biolfilm.

    You can make a case for cleaning water with a natural bog. This is one of the principals of Grey-water recycling. There is also a trend to build natural swimming pools (http://www.pond-doctor-dave.com/swimming-ponds.html). However, killing the moss and compressing it into blocks you package and sell does not add up for me. If chlorine cannot break through the out shield of the biofilm how will chunks of dead, dry moss somewhere else in the plumbing remove the biomass? According to web site "Moss releases conditioning substances and actively removes ions from water". Which ions? I would be interested in seeing some actual scientific proof that explains how this works.

    I have a feeling that the only way the moss removes biofilm is if you take a dried hunk of moss and use it to scrape the biofilm off.
    In ground 15 X 33 10,400 gal. Fiberglass
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    polyvue's Avatar
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    Re: Algae is GOOD for your POOL!!!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by PVille
    According to web site "Moss releases conditioning substances and actively removes ions from water". Which ions? I would be interested in seeing some actual scientific proof that explains how this works.

    PVille, I like the way you think! It's irksome to read marketing material that trys to pass itself off as science.

    I have a feeling that the only way the moss removes biofilm is if you take a dried hunk of moss and use it to scrape the biofilm off.

    Funny!
    14,555 gal in-ground 16'x29' white plaster Pool w/spa (2007); Goldline Aqua Logic AQL-PS-8 control w/Aqua Cell 15 Salt Water Chlorination (SWCG); Hayward TriStar 1HP (1.85 SF) main / 1.5HP (1.60 SF) spa pumps; Hayward Swimclear cart filter C4025, ColorLogic LED lights; Tankless SP-18-4 electric heater; Polaris 280 cleaner.
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    View of spiral galaxy in Ursa Major NGC6217 - Hubble Telescope 2009

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    Re: Algae is GOOD for your POOL!!!!!

    More likely is that a given pool with a given bather load will produce a biofilm of a certain size... add moss the the filtration and the biofilm can move THERE, inhabiting that surface, and not on the pool walls, presuming the walls are brushed frequently.

    Same process as an aquarium.
    23,000 gallon in ground pool with rock waterfall and spillover spa, Aqualink control system, Polaris 380 cleaner, Purex Triton Clean&Clear Plus cartridge filter. Located in The Woodlands, Texas.

    Pool owner since Nov 2008, Trouble Free since April 2009. Happy to help when I can.

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    Re: Algae is GOOD for your POOL!!!!!

    An aquarium doesn't have chlorine preventing the formation of biofilms in the first place by killing bacteria before they are able to form biofilms. With sufficient nutrients in the pool and without sanitizers or oxidizers to inhibit growth, biofilms can develop on any reasonable surface, but in a consistently and properly sanitized pool, biofilm formation should be virtually eliminated except where circulation is poor. Biofilm in some sand filters is not uncommon, especially in commercial/public pools, though is usually a result of some time with insufficient sanitation or poor circulation through part of the filter where once formed to sufficient size, the biofilm is resistant to breakdown from chlorine and after a time ends up using up lots of chlorine (that essentially wastes its time oxidizing the outer biofilm layers not getting to deeper layers to kill the bacteria).

    Commercial/public pools with their very high bather loads present unique challenges, but for residential pool owners following the principles described on this forum, it's a solution searching for a problem that doesn't exist in our pools. If anyone tries it and finds chlorine usage has decreased, please let us know.
    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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