ECO POOLS

Figure 2- EcoPool with step entry
© Weixler/Hauer

Figure 1- EcoPool with beach entry
©Topia

Natural swimming ponds do not use the technology of chemical desinfection and filtration. Instead, they use nature's infinitely more sophisticated technology: ecological balance. Just like in a natural lake, micro-organisms break down organic matter into materials which plants can use as nutrients. The use of natural processes in artificial swimming pools was pioneered in Austria by Peter Petrich (1985) and a company called Biotop. Since then, the principle has been widely used in European residences, hotels and resorts. The swimming pools are ecologically balanced, self cleaning and beautiful. Instead of worrying about whether chlorine is damaging their eyes and mucus membranes, swimmers can feel confident in doing what their ancestors have done since prehistoric times: swimming in fresh clean water. More and more home owners consciously want to turn their ideal of a purely natural swimming pond into a reality, a pond without the use of chemicals!

Figure 3. . This system is typically used in installations with higher public traffic. The TCT allows for the swimming area to be significantly larger than in the OCT.EcoPool (OCT) with Floating Raft division The TWO-Chamber-Technology (TCT) uses two physically separate areas to separate the swimming from the regeneration area. Water circulation via a pump or a small creek can be added to enhance the purification efficiency. To separate the regeneration area from the swimming area to minimize disturbance of the plants. The water is pumped from the swimming area into the regeneration area. The regeneration is done in the same way as in the OCT by means of a retention basin filter. The OCT is the best choice for small pools with little traffic.Design principles for eco pools OCT and TCT The ONE-Chamber-Technology (OCT) combines the regeneration and swimming area into one water body. we install our AquaGreen® Floating Raft. The regeneration area is conceived as a flow-trough soil filter (retention filter) planted with water and riparian plants.

An easily manageable size lies between 80-250m²/8002. OCT). lava stones (2. . And the regeneration area remains completely undisturbed by the traffic in the swimming zone. Regeneration Zone A marginal area planted with aquatic and semi-aquatic plants. That leaves 40-50% for swimming. This filter layer should be covered with lime-free washed gravel 16/32 (0-3/4”). We found that the smaller the swimming area the more technology has to be employed. The Retention basin filter is composed with a mixture of gravel. Figure 5. This layer should be 50cm/20” thick. The other walls remain around 100mm/4” below water level to allow the exchange of water but hold the soil and plants back in the regeneration area (in one chamber technology. The filtration basin should be soilfree so the plants are forced to take their nutrients out of the water.The TCT is also more economical as the regeneration basin can compensate for evaporation losses in the swimming area during longer droughts. One or two walls of the pool will rise above the water surface to allow access for swimmers.TCT in residential installation ©Bionova Figure 4.TCT in public pool ©Bionova Swimming Zone This zone can be walled and tiled (and cleaned with a normal pool bottom cleaner). either as a retention basin filter or as a floating island: a) Soil-free.5-5mm/01/4”) and Zeolite. This system can completely obliterate all planting and vegetation in the swimming area. fresh water is saved to refill the pool. The selection of riparian plants will be installed on top of that gravel layer.500ft². retention basin filter This system requires between 50 and 60% of the overall surface for regeneration.

Pruning and removing plants (usually in winter) takes nutrients out of the pond. The plants on the blankets extract nutrients quicker from the water column than algae thus controlling them by deprivation. Coliformes and viruses are typically eliminated by the natural UV radiation from the sun. The most natural way to control algae are plants as they use the same nutriments (phosphates and nitrates). underside Figure 6. Submersible aeration system Figure 7. The most effective way to use plants are the floating blankets as they provide the largest possible contact surface between water and microorganisms/plants on the other. Degradable planting matting (coco fibers). Our floating blankets are composed of three components: 1.Floating Blanket in EcoPool .Floating Blanket. b) Floating Blanket Filter This system needs much less area to install the filtration plants: we calculate 5% of the overall surface. pre-planted or not 3. Non-degradable floating matting 2. which leaves you 95% for swimming.Nitrates and phosphates are filtered out of the water by microbes and reed plants.

. bacteria and viruses (what chlorine and bromine don’t do). so the potential source of algae persists.Ionizer Components installed The Ionizer system does not take nutrients like phosphate and nitrate out of the water. etc. An additional ozonizer will get rid of the organic contaminants (body oils. after filtration. it only kills algae.) and dissolves a bioshield that can build up around algae cells preventing the copper ions from getting to the algae and kill it. to remove floating debris. while the ionizer system will not affect fish but it will remove their natural food sources – so it will be imperative you never forget to feed your fish! Mechanical filtration Mechanical filtration is still needed to remove floating debris like fallen leafs etc. A pump draws water from the Regeneration Zone and from the surface of the pool. suntan lotions. it returns the water to the swimming Zone. The substances resulting are to be discharged into the sand/cartridge filter system. these ions effectively kill algae. it consists of an electrode that is made of 96% pure copper and 4% pure silver in an alloy. A very week current excites the electrode to emit copper and silver ions into the water.c) Plant-free Ionizer Filtration This system does not require a distinct filtration area (you can retro-fit it into your conventional swimming pool filtration plumbing). The systems a and b can tolerate fish. Figure 8.

They can be delivered in rolls or cut-to-size. they are ecologically harmless as they do not contain softeners and are often build from recycled material and are very easy to install.covered with lime-free hard river rocks that do not dissolve any minerals into the water. it will be used at the same time in larger eco pool applications to keep the pool level constant (absorb run-off from high traffic in the pool). Algae control begins already in the planning and construction phase. decay and mould. etc. Liners need to be installed on a layer of fine clean sand of 25mm/1” thickness. So will the proliferation of algae be bigger using light colored liners than black ones. PVC and HDPE. Between the liner and the sand you need to install a underlayment for additional protection. The floor of the swimming area should –if need be. dry seasons. . We prefer EPDM liners 45mil thick. They are also resistant against root penetration. Liner and Water proofing Pond liners come in three different materials: EPDM.Heating If the pool is heated the plants will grow faster than normal and will have to be thinned from time to time.). Drainage Ditch A drainage ditch surrounds the pool to keep out surface water runoff (which would introduce nutrients and affect the ph of the water). splash. A remote retaining basin (under ground) can then be used to compensate for water losses (evaporation.

the water should be channeled through a planted and gravel-filled prefilter channel before it reaches the regeneration area. Border.com/ . After the water has passed through the filter system it can be recycled into the water body through fountain heads or source stones.and Deck Design A section of the pools is typically covered with a decking. It should be natural wood that can be treated with natural products against rotting and mildew1. The installation of a skimmer (or more) should collect leafs and other floating debris from the water body before it sinks down and create muck. In TCT systems. As a filter system is always as good as the maintenance it is very important to regularly check and clean all parts of the filtration system to prevent clogging and accidental backwash. 1 For example: LIFETIME. Round skimmers are preferable as they can adapt to varying water levels. It is equally important to keep the decking construction always aerated to prevent decay. http://www. It is important to treat the wood before installation to prevent leakage of chemicals into the water.valhalco. Skimmers that are permanently installed should be 1m/3ft long per 60-80m²/600-800sqft of water surface. typically between 10 and 15cm (4 to 8”).Pumps and Fittings The pump is typically dimensioned so that it recycles the whole water body once a day.

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Nymphaea tetraguna 8. Phragmites australis 2. Scirpus lacustris 9. Nymphoides paltata 7. This is not the case with on-site planted installations. . Butomus umbelatus 10. Carex pseudacyperus 8. Typha latifolia 4. Carex gracilis 7. Sparganium erectum The plants can be installed individually or they can be supplied on pre-grown matting (floating islands). Myreophyllum specatum (prefers alkaline water conditions) 4. Pre-grown matting have the advantage that their water purification capacity is already fully developed at the moment of installation. Typha minima 5. Ceratophyllum 2. The planting baskets should be lined with coco matting to prevent wash-out of the nutriment rich soil. Nymphaea cultivars 9. need established biosphere) 6.Appendix Here is a list of a proven combination of floating plants that help control algae: 1. Dilodea Canadensis (this one is very challenging other plants and should only be applied in extreme algae conditions) 3. Typha angustifolia 3. Here our choice of riparian plants: 1. Ultricularia vulgaris (not good for new installations. for small ponds round shapes with 50-75cm/20-30ӯ. Nuphar lutea The Nymphaeas need nutrient rich special soil and minimum of 6 hours sunshine per day. Nymphaea alba 10. Iris pseudacorus 6. Myreophyllum verticillatum (grows better in low-alkaline conditions) 5.

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