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Natural Awakenings

Perfect Pools: Practical Options for Chlorine-Free Swimming

Swimming in an ocean, river or lake dramatically differs from manmade pools in obvious ways, but also one that water lovers may not dwell on. In the typical, chlorine-laced environment of most public and private pools, major emphasis is placed on killing germs quickly and cheaply; possible side effects to skin, hair and lungs from exposure to a toxic chemical are assumed. Nevertheless, safe and refreshing options are available.

Saltwater pools use sodium chloride in a naturally occurring cycle to keep it clean. Chlorine is present as a byproduct of the off-gassing of the salt, but much less so than in a conventionally chlorinated pool.

An ionizer not only keeps water sanitized, it makes the water feel silky smooth to the touch, using copper and sometimes silver ions to maintain cleanliness. No salt and little or no chlorine are used.

An oxidation system is a chemical-free way to keep pools disinfected using ultraviolet light or electricity; it requires a generator.

Production of ultrasonic waves pulsed through the water are the key to sonic cleaning; such a device destroys algae at a cellular level.

Creating a totally natural ecosystem pool employs plants to form a breathable bottom more akin to a lake. (which offers building instructions) notes, “It can be constructed for as little as $2,000 if you do it yourself, while conventional pools can cost tens of thousands of dollars. Natural swimming pools require no harmful chemicals, are fairly low-tech and once established, call for only a modicum of management. You won’t have to drain the pool each autumn. Except for topping it off now and then, you’ll fill the pool only once.”


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