In November, we attended the 9th IOB International Natural Swimming Pool conference in Holland. This was very exciting. Amongst an array of very interesting talks, the cutting edge of Natural Filtration Technology was presented. There have been some fascinating advances in recent years, especially in the field of fixed biofilm technology, where the relative merits of water velocity, direction of flow, chemistry of filter medium and the capacity of biofilms to neutralise disease have been tested and proven. It was very satisfying to get confirmation that our filtration systems are as good as, and in some cases better than, those being used in Northern Europe - the centre of the research activity and the International industry. That said, there is always room for improvement, and we look forward to testing some new filtration systems next year, especially in the area of grey water processing. Speaking to the various delegates, what came home was the complexity of Natural Aquatic Ecosystems, and how unlikely it is for people who do not understand the science to achieve any modicum of success without the help of proffesionals.
With the ongoing drought in the Western Cape, we all need to find ways to reduce our demand on drinking water.
On average, 31percent of domestic water use is flushed down the toilets. We have designed a biological system which processes grey water and feeds it back into the toilets. This means that instead of carrying buckets of grey water around, flushing toilets is fully automated. The water is clean, clear and does not smell, even after being in the bowl for weeks on end. This is the ultimate water saver. Excess water can be used for washing cars, topping up the EcoPool, and of course irrigation. Plus the systems are really pretty and are a haven for wildlife of all kinds. The difference between EcoPools' grey water systems and conventional constructed wetlands is that our system is guaranteed not to block and takes up much less space. For an average sized houseold, a 4m2 EcoPools greywater wetland is sufficient.
Follow this link http://www.thegardener.co.za/kb/article.php?id=1025 for a very nice article in the Gardener. It features a pool we built with Riaan Maritz of the Garden Company in Hermanus back in 2012.Until a client said this is the design he liked for his new pool, we didnt know the article had appeared. Lovely to find and brings up fond memories of working with Riaan - a real gentleman.
This is one example of the type we recieve almost daily:
Hi I recently had a pool installed and wanted to go natural. Unfortunately I don't think the contractor really knows much about natural pools although he claimed to be an expert. Long story short. I've got a green dam full of algae and little organism which include some biting my children! ...and I don't know how to fix it!! Is there any natural product that will loosen the algae without harming the plants and fish in the pond? I live just outside Pretoria and desperately need a pool doctor!! Can you PLEASE help, assist or refer? Thank you So much Things I realized while dong some research: My pond might be too small ( plants are beautiful though), I might need some volcanic rocks / special rocks?
Ja well, biological ecosystems, particularly aquatic ones, are complex! If you create the environment for the wrong beasties, you will have a paradise for algae and disease organisms.
These are two samples were taken simultaneously. The glass on the left contains grey water coming into our system and the one on the right of water that comes out the other end. This incredible change is made by passing the water through a designed ecosystem full of plants, microbes and animals that happily eat the soaps and other pollutants leaving behind pure, clean water. This water is clear and odour free, and can be stored until it is needed for irrigation, toilet flushing or washing the car. With a second, finer biological filter added to it, the water can be used for showering. Our natural system can produce water of the same standard as imported, high-tech European systems at a fraction of the price. Our systems are designed to never block and you never need get your fingers wet.
As I am sure you have been made aware, level 3 water restrictions have now been implemented across South Africa.
Keeping this in mind, there are a few reasons to feel good about if you have an EcoPool or are considering one:
1. It is indeed possible to install a pool cover over your SwimZone. This may detract from the aesthetic of the pool, but doing so allows you to legally continue filling your pool with a hose pipe. Please also switch off your automatic filler if you have one. The cover will not adversely affect the plants or biological filter. The plants themselves will shade the EcoZone, cooling the water in the heat of the day and reducing evaporation.
2. Vacuuming or using a creepy crawley is not absolutely necessary in an EcoPool. This is simply to remove sediment and EcoPools can wait until wetter weather returns. This is a significant water saving. If you do feel the need to vacuum the pool, backwashed water can be used to directly irrigate trees, shrubs and lawns. The sediment and waste water being vacuumed out is a great fertilizer and will ultimately benefit your garden more than standard municipal water.
3. Many people's gardens will wither in the dryness of this Summer. Since pools need to be kept full anyway to prevent damage, your EcoPool will provide a refreshing piece of lush landscaping without having to irrigate the rest of your property. The EcoPool becomes an oasis of life in these harsh times - both to you and your family and the animals living in your area.
4. Rethink your showering routine. If you are looking for an alternative to watching your shower water drain away day after day, why not take a quick dip in your EcoPool? Any debris that are washed off your skin and out of your hair will be caught in the biological filter that will break this down into nutrients that the plants will be happy to feed on.
5. We may find ourselves in the position where water "shedding" comes into play. Keeping your EcoPool running through these times ensures that you have thousands of liters of potable, drinkable water when you need it most.
For more information on what these water restricitons mean to all of us, please see the link below:
In expectation of the drought, and as a natural extension of our Bioengineering research, EcoPools have developed a natural grey-water processing system. The use of biological filtration and a planted ecosystem means that, as opposed to many other available grey water systems, the EcoPools system can store grey water almost indefinitely. The system significantly improves water quality so that delicate plants will not suffer and irrigation systems will not block up. With an additional clarification filter, the water can be cleared and deodorised for use in toilets. What separates the EcoPools system from other treatment wetland systems is that they cannot block up.
Amazing growth on a vertical seep filter. Lovely!
What a beautiful image sent this morning by a client of a masked weaver colony established at the pool. You gotta love EcoPools. This is just so beautiful and so African.
We receive this kind of message more and more frequently. As the concept of Natural Swimming Pools becomes more widely known, everyone and their dad is trying their hand. More often than not it results in a mess of algae because people do not understand the basic principles of how to establish aquatic ecosystems that are not algae factories. More often than not, the fundamental design is so flawed that the whole thing needs to be redesigned, removed and started over. Best is to consult professionals who know what they are doing!!!! Would you take your car to be fixed by a fitter and turner? EcoPools are not garden ponds and they are not terrestrial landscapes. They are sophisticated pieces of BioEngineering, designed to deliver clear, high quality water, and out-compete algae with minimal power use. If you think this is easy to achieve, then why oh why would there be specialist companies and international regulations?