Water Education - Water and Health


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Experienced swimming pool owners know that there is rarely one chemical that can treat and prevent all problems in an optimum manner. For this reason, a combination of chemicals/ treatments is often used. The trick is to use combinations that will provide clean, clear and pleasant pool water to minimize harmful side effects, and, at the same time, to customize your pool water treatment to meet your specific needs.

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Water Care Requirements

Maintaining excellent water quality should be a priority for all pool owners. No matter which water treatment is selected, the following are always required:

  • Sanitation (or disinfection), the killing of bacteria and viruses
  • Oxidation, the elimination of non-living material (anything excluding bacteria and viruses)
  • Residual, retaining some sanitizer in the water at all times

Any water treatment unable to meet all three requirements, whether it is one or a combination of chemicals, will not be fully effective in meeting your pool water basics and ensuring that the water is clean and safe.


The most common sanitizer is chlorine, which is excellent in killing bacteria and viruses. In fact, it is used to fulfill all three water care requirements, whether it is introduced directly or it is produced from salt via a chlorine generator. Although clearly well suited to über-athletes, according to the Aquatic Exercise Association, "The water's unique properties" provide an environment for people of all abilities. Buoyancy creates a reduced impact exercise alternative that is easy on the joints..."

In fact, the Arthritis Foundation reports that the swim spa's environment of warmth and buoyancy makes it a safe, ideal setting for relieving arthritis pain and stiffness. It recommends water exercise as a gentle way to exercise joints and muscles. Note that in an outdoor pool, the sun destroys much of the chlorine. Of the chlorine that remains, more than half is used up for the removal of non-living waste, such as grease, oil, cosmetics, suntan lotion residue, urine, and sweat. Biguanide is the favorite of many, not only because of its functionality as a sanitizer but also because it produces a silky-smooth feel in the water.

In addition, using a biguanide means that you will avoid the "chemical smell" that is associated with chlorine. Bromine is acknowledged as an effective sanitizer, but it is better suited for indoor pools or for outdoor pools in northern climates where there is less sunlight exposure (because, like chlorine, it is not stable in the sun). Unlike chlorine, however, there is no stabilizer to protect bromine from the sun's rays. Silver is used in mineral product containers or dispensed from an automatic ionizer. Since there is still some uncertainty with respect to how well and how quickly bacteria are killed by silver, it is recommended that some chlorine be used in combination with the silver. Bromine is not compatible with silver; therefore, the two cannot be used in combination.

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