To SCG or Not to SCG?

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Man, I get busy working (it is pool season) and come back to find a locked thread. So, for those trying to decide whether to go for a SCG or not, I offer these links:

link #1 - a comment (about an article promoting SCGs) from the Environmental Programs Administrator for the city of Thousand Oaks in CA.

link #2 - a question from a soon-to-be SCG pool owner about why she must follow very special rules in the Columbia River Gorge area for her salt water pool...and the answer.

link #3 - "Things that manufacturers of Salt Water Chlorinators generally don't advertise"...from the website of TCG, Australian manufacturers of instrumentation for pH, Redox, Specific Ions, Conductivity, Salinity, Dissolved Oxygen, Turbidity and Temperature for Research and Industry.

I don't know of any other municipalities that have actually moved to restrict sewage connections from salt pools as Santa Clarita. I heard Livingston County MI has banned all chloride discharge to the sewer system and multiple communities in Marthas Vineyard MA have done so with the pool, but have been unable to confirm that with links.

My point is not to bash salt, and I apologize if I can across that way. I just want to fully inform people of the whole SCG picture. I'm sure there are a fair amount of SCG owners out there who have never had a problem, never will and are just tickled pink with their systems. But beyond the potential corrosion, which seems to flutuate from area to water balance to pool to what kind of stone work, it seems to me that salt simply is not a very green choice considering all the discussion of chlorides in the environment (I didn't bother with the multitude of links regarding chlorides and water softeners). We all believe in what we sell, that much is obvious to me. I'm just the "Green" choice.

Thanks for the correction about deicing salts, Sean, I appreciate the heads up - my mistake. And there are indeed salt tolerant plants that will weather low levels very well while other plants are extremely salt sensitive. In fact I discovered there are spieces of non-native plants that grow right next to the salted roadways because they are so sodium tolerant. They are spreading quickly into areas where other plants can't live.

As far as being drawn into a discussion with the salt reps or pro-salt pool guys defending the system I represent, no thanks. The thread that got locked was about SCGs, not alternatives. Oh, and I'm not the copper Queen (though I like the capitalization), I am the copper Goddess. And the FTC would've slapped us down years ago, 13 to be exact, if our claims were not true. 8)
Wendy the Water Woman said:
As far as being drawn into a discussion with the salt reps or pro-salt pool guys defending the system I represent, no thanks.
I guess that is because you cannot defend some of the claims your company makes based on science. BTW, don't assume I am just a 'pool store guy'. :wink:
BTW, how about this link about ionizers from the same Austrailian manufacturer that you cite above?

Or this link and this link from the APVMA (the branch of the Australian government that regulates swimming pool chemicals)?

Or this link from the Canadian Pest Management Regulatory Agency, who register swimming pool chemicals in Canada where they state that ionizers are registered as algaecides and NOT sanitizers and that the use of chlorine or bromine is still required?

Interesting reading, no? :wink:

You state that you are a 'green choice' but in reality your system is not an adequate choice for sanition, and therefore not 'green' at all!
Mermaid - thanks for moving my post. I am new to these boards and not in the swing of things yet.
Ok - here's the scoop.
The first link you provided actually had a good summary of "Copper Only Systems". They say, "Whether the amount of oxygen produced in the chamber is sufficient to take care of all organic waste is open to some question." And also "By itself an ioniser is able to deal with algae and bacteria but problems with water balance, disposal of organics and proper filtration are not things that an ioniser can handle by itself." They recommend a chlorine residual to be sure.

The second and third links reinforced this and said the Australian government will be taking regulatory action against purveyors of ionization only systems. Here is a link to our Australian dealer, who is doing quite a bit of business down under and has not been shut down by the government.

The fourth link - ah, yes, Canada. Sadly, Canada, unlike the other 45 countries we are in, does not want to consider that there really are chlorine-free pool and spa solutions. We are working with them.

Copper and silver ionization by itself is NOT an adequate sanitizer, which is why Carribean Clear got slapped down by the FTC some years ago - link here. They were advertising that their product did not need a chlorine residual and was so pure you could drink it.

What makes our system different is the oxidation portion of the technology. The titanium bars with the noble metals coating (our trade secret) produces such a high level of oxidation that the combination of the two (ionization and oxidation) provides a sanitary pool. We have been advertising "chlorine-free" and "bottled quality water" for YEARS, with no problems. Copper is our residual so we do not need the chlorine. Again, if it didn't work - the FTC would have done to us exactly what they did to Carribean Clear.

I never said you were "just" a pool store guy. Some pool guys/gals and pool store owners know more about water chemistry than I can imagine. I just wish people could have an open mind and get off the "chlorine is the only answer" routine. There are other, greener, healthier options. Healthier as in no THM's.

My use of the term "Green", btw, had to do with the chloride issue, which you didn't respond to. There is a difference between sanitary and environmentally friendly. Tell me - how environmentally friendly are salt pools?


LifeTime Supporter
Mar 29, 2007
SE Louisiana
Wendy the Water Woman said:
...The titanium bars with the noble metals coating (our trade secret)...
Oops. Not anymore.

More seriously, is this "system" patented? If not, and it works so well, why isn't anyone else making a copy? Build a better mousetrap and all that. If you do hold patents, on what part of the the "system"? It can't be the oxygen producing cell; that's certainly prior art. It can't be the ionizers; many companies make those. I'm just having trouble understanding why no one else is copycatting this thing.


LifeTime Supporter
Jun 4, 2007
Concerning the ecosmarte system, I have a very difficult time believing in a product when the website is full of errors with regards to the chemistry that it's supposedly based on; some of your chemical names and their symbols don't even match up.

For a product that ranges in price from $1100 to $1600 you need to do a better job when trying to convince people that at least have some idea of basic chemistry.


LifeTime Supporter
Jun 4, 2007
KurtV said:
Wendy the Water Woman said:
...The titanium bars with the noble metals coating (our trade secret)...
Oops. Not anymore.

More seriously, is this "system" patented? If not, and it works so well, why isn't anyone else making a copy? Build a better mousetrap and all that. If you do hold patents, on what part of the the "system"? It can't be the oxygen producing cell; that's certainly prior art. It can't be the ionizers; many companies make those. I'm just having trouble understanding why no one else is copycatting this thing.
Because it doesn't work? :roll:


TFP Expert
Platinum Supporter
LifeTime Supporter
May 7, 2007
Silver Spring, MD
No mater what magic happens inside the device, copper is not a sanitizer. Thus the water in the pool is not sanitized and so is not safe. Most countries don't care all that much about what people do on their own property and false advertising persecution is quite slow unless your sales volume is huge.

In how many countries is this thing approved for use in public pools? Quite a few countries actually pay attention to public pools. I suspect that the list will be very very short and not include anywhere interesting.


Well-known member
Mar 29, 2007
Ontario, Canada
I was just looking at the ecosmart website. In many places it mentions these points

"ECOsmarte® has the only method that can sanitize your pool or spa without chemicals"

"Use baking soda and ECOsmarte's food grade ph down, granular citric acid to manage your water's pH (tablespoon per week on spas), and no toxic chlorine, bromine, bacquacil or acid is required. "

"ECOsmarte? takes a proven technology one step further, completely eliminating the need for sanitation chemicals or for adding toxic staining silver to your water."

"ECOsmarte® eliminates the need for all sanitation and disinfectant chemicals, and is a product that has no equal at any price in the water purification industry. "

now, elsewhere in the site are these condradictary nuggets:

"ECOsmarte's Chlorine Reduction Pool System provides you with a chlorine reduced alternative for water treatment today."
HUh, I thought this system eliminates the need for Chlorine... it even says on the box in the picture.. 100% Chlorine free

"You, the pool owner or your service person will still need to do your normal pool housekeeping, and maintain your pH at water balance. " How do I maintain my pH without the use of chemicals?

chem geek

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Mar 28, 2007
San Rafael, CA USA

The EPA registration as of 03/31/07 shows the following info in the Data Submitters List:


registered the following chemicals:

004003 d-trans-Chrysanthemum monocarboxylic ester of dl-2-allyl-4-hydroxy-3-methyl-2-cyclopent
067501 Piperonyl butoxide
069001 Pyrethrins
069005 Phenothrin
080402 Thymol
102601 2-Phenylethyl propionate
128893 Rosemary Herbs
597800 Oil of thyme

Do you have an EPA registration number for your use of copper? The data submitters list (see this link) does list many copper compounds including metallic copper, copper sulfate, copper in the form of chelates of copper citrate and copper gluconate, etc. but EcoSmart is not listed in any of these sections.

Copper is a known algaecide and is effective for that purpose. It does have side effects with risk of precipitation at higher pH (mostly copper hydroxide, but some oxides as well) causing green water and blond hair can get a green color from it. Copper is not a sufficiently strong disinfectant against bacteria, viruses and protozoa. Usually in metal systems, silver is used to provide disinfection, but it is still a slow-acting disinfectant and does not meet the CT (chlorine in ppm times time in minutes) standards required for pool/spa disinfection. This is why metal systems require an additional fast-acting disinfectant such as chlorine, though the level of chlorine can be lower than normal since it takes less chlorine to kill bacteria and inactivate viruses than it does to kill or inhibit algae -- however, a minimum chlorine amount is needed as a reserve to ensure that no local area gets depleted too much.

The titanium bars with noble metals coating you say provides for oxidation, but that makes no sense whatsoever since metals are NOT oxidizers, but rather can be strong reducers. To be a strong oxidizer, a molecule needs to itself get reduced which means it accepts electrons as with chlorine (hypochlorous acid). The noble metals, by the way, include gold, silver and platinum and are "noble" because they tend to resist corrosion because they have very negative oxidation potentials (that is, the potential for the metal to become oxidized). Titanium, on the other hand, is rather like aluminum in that it has a very positive oxidation potential (meaning that it has a high potential to become oxidized thereby reducing something else in the process -- i.e. it can be a strong reducing agent, NOT an oxidizer), but forms a small oxide layer that resists further corrosion, just like aluminum.

When "metals" are used in pools, it is their ionic form that is useful so even "metallic copper" simply gets oxidized by chlorine (often accelerated with an applied voltage in some systems) into copper ion and THAT is what inhibits algae (or the copper ion is directly introduced into the water as with copper sulfate).

IF you had a system that had a strong oxidizer, such as a non-chlorine shock (potassium monopersulfate), then there would be less chlorine usage so somewhat lower chlorine levels could be maintained, BUT the largest source of chlorine destruction is UV light from the sun so unless you've come up with a way of protecting chlorine from sunlight WITHOUT reducing its effectiveness (as CYA does), then one still needs to have sufficient Free Chlorine levels in the pool so that there is no localized excessive consumption. The minimum used to be set at 1.0 ppm FC but has been recently moved to 2.0 ppm FC so even with metal ion systems to provide for algae prevention, you STILL need 2.0 ppm FC in the pool for disinfection, at least for outdoor pools (I think that an indoor pool WITH an oxidizer such as non-chlorine shock could probably get away with 1.0 ppm FC if some sort of algaecide were used).

As for using citric acid as an acid source, why on earth would one want to introduce yet another organic into the pool to use as an acid? It's just one more organic compound that needs to be oxidized! Muriatic acid (hydrochloric acid) is the purest form of acid as its only by product is chloride ion (a component of salt). Yes, strong solutions of muriatic acid can be hazardous, but more dilute solutions are now available though unfortunately are priced the same.



In The Industry
Jun 22, 2007
dallas, tx
Wendy, I don't think these guys are going to let you talk about what you want to talk about; whether salt systems are an environmentally sound choice.

That first link in your opening post is a very interesting piece. It's written by the Environmental Programs Administrator for the City of Thousands Oaks, CA. Here's another administrator - in other words, someone who isn't making a buck off selling or bashing salt - who says things like, "I wouldn't want to be the vendor or contractor explaining to their customer why their state-of-the-art system is obsolete, that draining his pool is illegal and that a parade of tanker trucks will need to be emloyed to pump and haul away his too hard pool water".

Gosh. Sounds like something I'd say.

He talks about how salt is a "pass through" pollutant, in that, except for dillution, there's no method employed in normal waste treatment to remove it from water.

I dug a little deeper and went back to the November issue of WPC online magazine to find out what he was commenting on and lo and behold, what did I find? A nice big fat article called "Solving Public Pool Water Quality Problems Forever!" by Mr. Bill Kent, who is the President of... wait for it... Team Horner!

Why, that's Sean's boss! Isn't it great that he's such a selfless guy as to spend his free time writing articles about salt systems for water quality journals?

And isn't it funny that the people who respond to these "ads as articles" are local administrators tasked with cleaning up the mess that these state-of-the-art technologies leave in their wake?

Okay, everybody. You can go back to bashing ionizers now.


TFP Guide
In The Industry
May 14, 2007
New Brunswick Canada

Curious as to what part of the industry you REP?

Would love to hear your sales technique on whatever it is you are selling.

Also curious if any of these SWG's hate mongers have water softeners in their house or as part of their communities water supplies?


In The Industry
Jun 22, 2007
dallas, tx
Dear PoolAddict,

Read more threads. I'm getting tired of saying this: I own a pool service and repair company in Dallas, Texas. That's it. No store. No product. Just cleaning and fixing pools.

And of course I don't have a water softener. That would be disingenuous. Wouldn't it?

Any other questions?


Active member
May 28, 2007
To be fair, I do not think the EPA registration database of Ecosmart is the same company as Ecosmarte. I believe that the product REGGUIDE is an agricultural pesticide, which (hopefully) is in no way associated with swimming pools.

However, I did a quick google on Ecosmarte, and the immense amount of advertising that pops up tells me instantaneously what kind of company this is. In fact many of their sites are blocked by my anti-malware software. They advertise their technology for nearly all water applications, and even claim that they can provide salt free residential water softening. From what I have learned about pool chemistry from this forum and what I already know about water softening from personal experience as well as tons of research on that matter, this company is selling what (IMO) amounts to be snake oil. I think most members of this forum can see this clearly and easily enough, so sorry for stating the obvious.

In addition, I find it questionable why TPG with his "noble" crusade against SWG manufacturers who are ripping us off and destroying our pools wouldn't find this type of company equally bash worthy. In fact, after recent posts by TPG and all the inaccuracies about rainfall and salt usage and inaccuracies about how much salt is discharged from a salt pool as compared to salt water softeners, I have come to the conclusion that his statements are just so one dimensionally skewed and biased that it is impossible for me to make any balanced, rational decisions based on any of his statements.

I am about to sign the contract with my PB tomorrow, and thanks to everyone on this forum, I am now confident that I am making the right choice in saying "YES I want a salt pool and SWG"
You're right, TPG - they'll never talk about the salt pool problems, it's such a great diversionary tactic to try and pick apart an alternative system instead. What kind of blows me away is this comment:
1) If SWG's do damage, wouldn't that be better for your business?
Wow...the word integrity comes to mind here, more specifically a lack thereof. I can't believe pooladdict even asked that question. Stick it to the customer because you can make good money - have a party. I honestly am way too busy selling systems to spend time chatting with you all, especially when valid points made are not responded to. So you can bash me when I'm gone - it will look good for future readers and continue to divert them from the SCG problems.

Someday, when the real estate agents start having home buyers sign waivers that release the sellers from liabilities for salt water pools...when no one would think of swimming in a chlorine pool...when all local municipalities lay down the law and say NO MORE CHLORIDES INTO THE SEWER OR STORM DRAINS OR GROUNDWATER...and when enough legal actions have been taken because of damages to pools, equipment, stonework...someone will look back at this thread and think, hmmm, she was onto something there. And so was that pool guy.
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