Few people enjoy the eye-stinging sensation of a pool cleaned with chlorine. And really, it doesn’t feel too good knowing that you’re swimming in a giant chemical-filled tub, anyway. Enter Creative Water Solutions, a start-up that has developed a moss-based pool treatment system.
According to the company, sphagnum moss stops the formation of biofilm, or bacterial colonies in pools. While chlorine kills free-floating bacteria, biofilm absorb it and increasing amounts of chemicals are needed to maintain the pool, creating what CWS deems an “unmanageable and uncomfortable chemical soup”. Since moss attacks the biofilm directly, fewer chemicals like chlorine and cyanuric acid (a chemical used to stabilize chlorine) are needed to keep the pool clean.
There’s plenty of sphagnum moss available for the taking–it’s one of the reasons that Minnesota’s many lakes are so clear and pristine. At the moment, CWS imports moss from New Zealand since the country harvests it commercially to germinate orchids. If moss-based pool treatments take off, though, it’s likely that companies a bit closer to CWS’ home base will get in on the harvesting action.
CWE has been shilling its treatment system for backyard pools since 2007, but just this summer completed a two-month test at St. Paul, Minnesota’s public aquatic complex. The results have been encouraging: city officials have been able to use less chlorine while maintaining pool quality, the building no longer has that chlorine-y smell, and even asthma sufferers in the building claimed that their symptoms eased up. For an industry that spends $3 billion each year on cleaning pools and spas, CWE’s technology could be a godsend.
CWE isn’t the only company advertising green pool cleaning solutions. Arizona-based Calsaway Pool Services uses a filtration process that saves water by removing chemicals from pools without draining them.