The Salt Water Pool Scandal: What’s the "Greenest" Swimming Pool System?

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Mirror, mirror on the wall, what’s the greenest pool system of all?

This is a question that many of us water lovers around the world will be asking as the temperature begins to rise… and as we try to find fun, cheap, environmentally friendly ways to stay cool.

(Ok, so maybe we won’t be rhyming, but we’ll still be curious.)

We know that chlorine can do a number on your body, so that’s pretty much a non-option. But what else is there?

A salt water pool system right?

Well, yes. But did you know some say a salt water system is  just as bad as a traditional chlorinated pool?

There are also 2 other types of pool systems that you’ve probably never heard of that really need to be considered as well!

 

Salt Water Pools: A Myth?

Salt water pool systems have been touted (and may actually have) some great benefits like Lynnette mentions in a post about her previous swimming pool saga.

But are they really any better for you… or for the environment?

G.K. Sharman at The Orlando Sentinel wrote an article earlier this month about salt water pool systems.

He, like many others, said that it was the “greenest” way to go if you had to have a pool (which is not really green at all). In the article, he provided a bit of information that was quite shocking to me (and which I realized I’d heard before):

A salt system converts salt into chlorine, eliminating the need to transport and handle chlorine tablets or liquid.”

The very next paragraph read:

Chlorine is a toxic chemical,” said Tracy DeCarlo, a Florida Green Home certifying agent and a home-design function analyst with Detailed Solutions Inc. “I don’t believe we should be drinking it or swimming in it.”

If chlorine is the toxic enemy here, why does it matter whether it comes from chlorine tablets or is converted from salt?

Needless to say, the article got nothing but negativity and accusations of greenwashing in the comments… but from some seemingly quite knowledgeable individuals.

 

Enter the Age of the EcoSmarte Pool System

The whole idea for this post came from a reader named Sally, who emailed me back in February.

She said:

“I have had an Ecosmarte pool system for about 3 years now, and I love it. I thought your readers may want to know about it. It is environmentally friendly, and I just noticed that they are donating 5% of their profits to environmental charities which I thought was pretty cool. I really do just love the product and I wanted to spread the good word.”

After I did a Google search for EcoSmarte pools, I found that one of my favorite green blogs, HippyShopper.com, had written a post about the EcoSmarte pool system.

According to the company, the EcoSmarte pool system works by creating 2 sanitizing agents: copper ionization, and liquid oxygen.

If that’s true (and I’m always the skeptic of the group), I’d feel a lot better about swimming in an EcoSmarte Pool than a chlorinated pool — whether it came from a chemical tab or salt.

 

One More (Gross) Swimming Pool Option

There’s a relatively new phenomenon of natural swimming pools.

It’s not really big here in the U.S. yet, but apparently it’s catching on in Europe. Over there, they actually call them “swimming ponds” — which more accurately depicts their aesthetic facade.

Here’s more about natural swimming pools from Inhabitat.com.

They look nice, but in the end (or at least for right now), they’re not for me. If I were writing a post about natural swimming pools, I’d be filing it in the “Too Green” category!

What’s your favorite way to avoid the harmful chemicals found in the majority of swimming pools?

Do you have a salt water system, EcoSmarte system, or some other type like a UV filter? If so, how do you like it?

photo: Homer’s Inn