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Dip into Nature, Not Chlorine

natural-swimming-pools

Image source: www.green-mom.com

The next time you take a swim, consider what you are diving into.

It is known that chlorine and other chemicals are commonly used to disinfect swimming pools. But with natural, chlorine free options available, why expose your health to these chemicals?

Beyond turning hair green, chlorine also reacts to bodily fluids, including sweat and urine. When combined, toxic breakdown products, called chloramines, are formed.

Another of chlorine’s most common effects is eye irritation. This isn’t surprising. What is surprising is that we continue to immerse ourselves, eyes open, into a pool of the stuff.

You can cool off in a natural pool instead. They are cheaper than standard pools and if you dig them yourself cost around $2,000.  They use clay and gravel stone in place of fiberglass or concrete, and benefit from plants growing around them. With the proper zoning, you eliminate the need for chlorine and pumps, which saves you hundreds of dollars down the road.

The annual upkeep of a standard, in-ground pool will cost about 10 percent of the initial price. This means if you spent $10,000 on a pool, you’d also be paying another $1,000 a year for maintenance. Not to mention the cost of supplies. A natural pool, on the other hand, does not require the upkeep of standard pools.

To properly zone your pool, make sure 50 percent of the pool’s surface area is reserved for shallow water. The shallow section can be a single decline, descending from one end of the pool to the other, or it could frame a circle around the rest of the pool. Just make sure there is some slope on all sides of your pool so it doesn’t cave in.  To do this, create a 1-foot vertical drop for every 3 horizontal feet. This will create a more gradual slope rather than a traditional boxy shape. It is still attractive, nonetheless, especially with the surrounding plants.

These plants are more than decoration, however, as they aid the filtration process. Natural pools have there own mini eco-system where water sifts through the fibrous roots of plants, such as cattails, and comes out cleansed. The roots also eliminate waste by consuming bacteria, so you won’t have a bunch of waste building up on the bottom of your pool.

Although these plants provide many benefits (and create a peaceful ambience), you probably don’t want to swim with mud in your toes and roots straggling your feet. This is why you should include two pools in your design, with one main pool for swimming and a smaller, shallow pool for plants.

Once construction is complete, you’ll find natural pools are low maintenance, requiring no draining or refilling. Other than removing floating leaves in the autumn, the pool tends to itself. Best of all, your pool can be as large or deep as you want it. Whether you choose to make it span the perimeter of a lake or a pond, it will bring bio diversity to your yard and may already fit attractively into your existing garden space.

Sources
How to Build A Natural Swimming Pool – MotherEarthNews
Taking A Bath on Your Pool – Wall Street Journal
Chlorine, EPA

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