The days have been hovering in the 90’s for a couple of weeks now, so there’s just no denying Summer is officially upon us. After having spent some time in Michigan last week, with their abundance of clear, sandy-bottomed lakes, I find myself longing for a cool body of water to lounge in a little closer to home. You know, like right in my backyard…
We’ve joked before about getting a hot tub or swimming pool, but the conversation has always wound back around to the same old problem: That’s an awful lot of water and the sheer number of chemicals involved is staggering. A friend suggested making a saltwater swimming pool to avoid the chemical issue, but none of us knew if that was possible, and I suspected it wouldn’t ultimately be much better for the surrounding plant life. Sadly, it was looking like my dreams of fruity, umbrella filled drinks by my own pool were going to have to be sacrificed to the Gods of Green.
Fast forward to last night, as I was reading one of my favorite websites and there was an article about a trend that’s been slowly advancing through Europe, and is just raising it’s head here in the states.
Here are just a couple of sample pictures from The Daily Green to get you hooked:
As you can see more clearly in the second photo, the pools work by basically recreating the best of nature’s clean-water tech. The pools have a separate shallower section of water filled with aquatic plants that foster the growth of beneficial microorganisms that then eat harmful bacteria. Since the area is shallow, sunlight is able to heat this water, and the warm water rises to the top, flowing over the dividing wall into the main area of the pool. Waterfalls and natural predators like frogs and dragonflies are utilized to keep the swimming hole free of mosquitos. (Unfortunately, many sources advise against the addition of fish due to the waste they produce.)
The last step in many pools utilizes UV light to further sterilize the water. The water flows over a UV fixture submerged under the surface, killing bacteria. This process can even be adapted to traditional chlorine pools, so people with existing pools can dramatically reduce their chemical usage. Some companies also suggest using a process called ozonization to further cut down on bacteria and other funk. Ozonization is pretty much exactly what it sounds like, on-site generated ozone is injected into the water, where it breaks down and turns back into oxygen. In the process, it kills viruses, mold and bacteria. Many municipalities use this as a way of purifying their drinking water, so it has been proven to be very safe.
Now, I still don’t know that we’re going to be able to get a pool in OUR backyard, but at least I know alternatives to the chlorine-filled squares of my youth DO exist. If you want to learn more about Natural Pools, and the possibility for installing one in your backyard, check out this informative article from Natural Home magazine. You can also get free information from the website of a company here in the US that has been installing these pools for a few years.
And if you get one? Have a fruity, paper umbrella filled drink for me, please?