by Peter Crawford, Environmental Assistance Director
Vermont Small Business Development Center
Alternative Sanitizers for Swimming Pools There is now a viable alternative to using chlorine or bromine as a swimming pool sanitizer. Copper/silver ionization is a proven technology used to sanitize water in many different applications. It is used for drinking water, cooling towers, fountains, fish ponds, zoo water features, industrial waste water, industrial process water and of course for swimming pools. Its most notable use is by NASA as the treatment method of choice to purify drinking water aboard their spacecraft. This technology has not been approved in VT for commercial spas yet.
Copper is a well known algaecide and bactericide and silver is also well known for its ability to kill bacteria and viruses. Pool ionization eliminates the constant need for chlorine, though ionized pools still need a regular shock routine, this can be accomplished with a non-chlorine shock, if you want to totally eliminate chlorine from your pool. In the long run this reduces overall chemical costs, not to mention the pleasure of no chlorine smells and associated bleaching. You and your guests will really notice the difference, especially for an indoor pool. There is also the Nature 2 mineral cartridge option which uses no electricity.
Ionizers run from $200-$1500 depending on the size of your pool and the features of the ionizer (you definitely want one which automatically switches between copper and silver electrodes), and are very easy to install in your existing system (electrode PVC Tee just needs inserted into the PVC line after the filter, and hooked up to power). Electrodes usually last 2-3 years for seasonal pools, and replacement tends to cost <$100. Since ionization uses low voltage, it costs very little to run, and is safe.
Manufacturers of Swimming
Pool Ionization Sanitizer Systems
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