Eco Pools, a new type of swimming pool on an old theme.

With the rise of climate change and awareness of our environmental impact on the world, many of us are trying to incorporate everyday practices that reduce our environmental footprint.  Ensuring appropriate use of our natural resources, such as water, is one consideration. Whilst we can limit water use in the garden, there has been one glaringly obvious backyard addition that has traditionally been overlooked.

What are Eco Pools?

Eco swimming pools are a new style of pool that is emerging into the mainstream arena. Eco pools are essentially any pool that uses a natural purification system rather than traditional chemicals such as salt or chlorine. Whilst the concept is not new (the movement for backyard eco pools started in the 1980’s), the creation and maintenance of these types of pools is more environmentally beneficial when compared to conventional pools.

A tranquil tropical look eco pool.

A tranquil tropical look eco pool.

How do Eco Pools benefit the Planet

An eco pool is beneficial to both the planet and the user by:

  • Using less of the planet’s resources
  • Providing a healthier swimming environment for the users
  • Saving the user money long-term on maintenance expenses
  • Creating habitats for local wildlife and flora

How do the Pools work?

Eco pools work by mimicking the same processes that occur in natural, high functioning healthy water bodies (such as lakes). When the ecosystem is balanced, the water is clean and safe to use.

The Zone system

Generally eco pools contain two separate zones; one for recreational use and the other for water purification. A ‘recreational zone’ would consist of 50 to 70% of the total water surface area while the remaining area is reserved for water purification. The water purification system utilises aquatic plants and microorganisms as living filters to clean and filter the water. These plants and microorganisms work in harmony to oxygenate the water and remove impurities and excess nutrients. This area is referred to as the ‘regeneration zone’, and is either incorporated into the overall structure of the eco pool or can be separated from the recreational zone by a dividing wall.

eco pools

House with an environmental pond pool. 3D CAD rendering shows the different pool zones

 

The regeneration zone is generally shallow, with a coarse aggregate to assist in filtration, and the pH levels must be maintained between 5.5 and 7 to ensure natural balance and equilibrium.

 

What about Algae and Mosquitos?

One of the biggest concerns from those considering an eco pool is that it will encourage algal growth and mosquito breeding. A high functioning, well-designed eco pool that is in balance will do neither of these things. The use of oxygenating aquatic plants will absorb nitrates and phosphates, which will slow the growth of algae. Furthermore, a deep recreational zone that is in shade will not provide adequate conditions for algae growth. In regard to mosquitoes, the constant movement of the water through the natural filtration systems will discourage them from depositing their larvae in the pool. However, if larvae did become present, the eco pool is designed to also attract natural predators (such as birds) that would eat the larvae.

What type of Plants are used?

There are three types of plants that will regulate the water:

  • Floating plants: provide shade and protect microorganisms from UV rays
  • Oxygenating plants: absorb nitrates and phosphates
  • Biological filters: remove excess nutrients from the water

Eco Pools are Low Maintenance

Ongoing cleaning and maintenance of an eco pool is less taxing than a conventional pool. However, it is recommended that two deep cleans occur each year, as well as weekly maintenance to remove leaves and debris. In addition to this, it may be necessary from time to time to provide fertilisers to the aquatic plants to improve their condition.

 

eco pool and egg chair

A tranquil eco pool with an egg chair hovering above it.

Overall, eco pools are the ideal solution for anyone wishing to reduce their environmental impact whilst still enjoying a plunge in the backyard during summer!

 

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