Posts Tagged ‘spa’
Sunrise to sunset…the hum of the city…the twinkling of the city lights…Life’s better…sitting on your very own high-rise deck atop the Park in your very own SpaBerry. Soak away the day’s stresses…enjoy some time with a loved one…enjoy the view…and truly…Live on the Park!
The Park has just taken “Urban Living” a major step forward and have done what no other high-rise in North America has ever done before. A first for Calgary…a first for Canada…and first for the world…The Park is raising the bar for the urban lifestyle by offering personal luxury spas from SpaBerry to over 100 decks.
“We wanted to give our customers who have been asking us for spas what they wanted. The SpaBerry fits perfectly into our clients’ lifestyles and is designed specifically with downtown condo living in mind” says Richard Lobsinger…VP of Sales & Marketing for the Park
“We are very excited to partner with Lake Placid Developments Inc (LPDI) on their upscale Urban Development, the Park” says Jeff Knight…President of SpaBerry Personal Luxury Spas. LPDI is setting the bar for other high-rise developments throughout the world with this project!
By Vance D. Fiegel, CWS Founder and Chief Scientific Officer
We have all walked into a swimming pool facility, health club, or small motel and immediately recognized that “chlorine” smell emanating from the pool. We have grown to accept the odor and the other side effects of chlorine disinfection as the price paid to have a sanitary swimming pool. The odor and many of these side effects are not actually caused by the chlorine, but are the by-products of chlorine disinfection. Chlorine and bromine are common aquatic system disinfectants and are very effective at killing bacteria. They, and their halogen brothers fluorine and iodine, are all effective sanitizers because they are strong oxidizers (oxidation is the way bacteria is killed). Halogens, like chlorine, are all one electron short of filling their outer electron shell. They are always looking for another compound from which to steal an electron (oxidize). However, their oxidative power is not limited to just attacking bacteria.
Disinfection by-products (DBP) are formed when chlorine oxidizes organic compounds. These organic compounds are found in bacteria and many are critical for the bacteria to live and thrive. However, a lot of organic compounds are naturally present in our water, and putting people into the water introduces even more of these materials (dead skin cells, sweat, urine, etc). When chlorine interacts and oxidizes these organic compounds, it results in a tremendous amount of newly created compounds…but, these now contain chlorine (DBP). We generally classify some of these as combined chlorine or chloramines. It has now been established that many of these DBP are toxic, and while most remain in the water, some are quite volatile and released from the water into the air (i.e. chloroform). These DBP are what we recognize as that “chlorine” smell.
In short, chlorine is going to cause a reaction with anything in its path, and some of these reactions are going be toxic. So, that funky “pool smell” isn’t the chlorine. It’s the dark side of chlorine’s work.
Research at Embro Corporation (Creative Water Solutions’ sister company) is actively investigating the process by which DBP are formed, and the levels of DBP in swimming pools and spas. Our early results have demonstrated that Sphagnum moss leads to a reduction in DBP levels within the first few months of use in a swimming pool. Pointing to the importance of this research are the increasing numbers of scientific articles documenting production of toxic DBP in aquatic systems. They illustrate increased health problems for those experiencing high exposure to these compounds, including competitive and avid recreational swimmers. Stay tuned to our newsletter and website for the newest results of our research in this area.
Creative Water Solutions has been recognized by Plymouth Magazine for having two must-try green products. The article features the city of Plymouth and the plethora of sustainable services, businesses and initiatives it has to offer. The six part series showcases the local green movement. Read more at Plymouth Magazine.
Now that you’ve flushed your spa once, twice or as many times as it takes to get it all out, how can you prevent biofilm from forming again?
Remember – biofilm forms when bacteria in solution adhere to a surface, divide and cover themselves with a protective layer of slime (mucopolysaccaride). Learn more at Montana State University’s CBE site.
You could try to completely sterilize your spa and the spa water and keep it sterile; drain the spa and use fresh water every week; use a flush to remove all biofilm once or twice a month and replace the water; OR you can prevent formation of biofilm while killing all swimming bacteria. Let’s look at each one.
The Hard Way:
Sterilize your spa and water
There is no easy way to sterilize every surface in your spa short of sending it to an industrial sterilization facility that uses high power x- rays. Even if that was done, the water placed into the spa would have to be sterilized, and you couldn’t use the spa because the second you stepped into the spa the bacteria on your skin would quickly repopulate the spa water and the spa surface. In my research laboratory, we conduct many experiments under sterile conditions and keep the systems sterile. The amount of work and equipment in addition to training required to accomplish that is enormous.
Drain the spa and use fresh water every week
This is essentially how commercial spa operators try to keep their spas within health department guidelines. They often use a measurement called “total dissolved solids” to determine when to dump the water and start fresh. Depending on the bather load, this could be done twice a week or weekly. The water is then treated with a sanitizer like chlorine to keep the bacteria count in the water within safe limits. This approach uses a lot of water, takes a lot of time, and does nothing to address the formation of biofilm in the spa. With the biofilm present in the spa, any excess bacterial challenge or change in bather load will “tip the balance” of the water and require more frequent water changes.
Use a flush to remove all biofilm once or twice a month and replace the water
As we discussed in my last blog (September 23, 2009), we now have an effective flush system that efficiently remove biofilm from surfaces and keeps it in solution. When the spa is drained, the biofilm goes out with the water. With fresh water and sanitizer in the spa, new biofilm will form over time requiring reflushing and fresh water. Theoretically, the water should last longer between changes than the previous scenario, but with frequent spa use, flushing would have to be done once or twice a month. The same problems as above make this treatment plan a real problem.
The Easy Way:
Prevent the formation of biofilm and control the number of swimming bacteria
This solution is ideal. Up until the discovery that certain species of moss prevent the formation of biofilm, this was a just a theoretical possibility. We know that sanitizers like chlorine and bromine are very effective killers of bacteria that swim. We now know that these same sanitizers are absorbed by biofilm and fail to kill all the bacteria within the biofilm.
Here’s how we now think this works: Combining the moss with sanitizer solves the problem. The moss prevents biofilm from forming, allowing the sanitizers to efficiently do their work on planktonic (swimming) bacteria. The moss also inhibits bacteria from dividing, so there are fewer swimming bacteria to kill. Combined with the moss’s ability to remove heavy metals from water and stabilize pH, the spa water becomes stable, clean, clear and safe. See the video on our website for more information about biofilm and moss.
Last week we talked about biofilm, the microscopic colony of bacteria that lives where water, bacteria and any surface meet. Scientists who study bacteria in the laboratory have known about biofilm for 10-15 years. It has taken that long for the laboratory bench research to impact our daily lives and biofilm impacts just about everything. Think about it: combine water, a surface and bacteria and you have instant biofilm.
Biofilm: A Slime City
A recent article in the July/August 2009 issue of Discover by Wendy Orent called “Slime City” talked about biofilm and its impact on medicine and implanted medical devices. She did a great job describing what is known about biofilm and how it causes serious diseases and problems in the body. View the article: http://discovermagazine.com/2009/jul-aug/17-slime-city-germs-talk-each-other-plan-attacks/?searchterm=Slime
The same biofilm that coats medical devices, your teeth, or an infected bone or wound covers every surface of your pool or spa. All disinfectants such as chlorine, bromine, ozone, cooper or silver are effective killers of bacteria that swim in the water. Unfortunately, that’s only 1-2% of the bacteria that populate a pool or spa. The rest are safely protected from the disinfectants by biofilm.
The colony in biofilm is static. It is alive just like a city. The bacteria move, send off microscopic streamers of biofilm containing bacteria to settle on other surfaces, send off microscopic balls of biofilm to roll along the surface to start a new colony, and provide a nursery for bacteria to multiply and replace those that die off.
A Slime City in your pool or spa?
You see the effects of the biofilm streamers when your spa forms foam on the surface of the water. Biofilm free water in a spa doesn’t foam. The air bubbles injected into the water from the jets come to the surface and pop. Biofilm in pools and spas cause the rings and scale on the pool sides. It also causes cloudy water.
Recently, the scientists at the Center for Biofilm Engineering at Montana State University (http://www.erc.montana.edu/) discovered that biofilm causes corrosion of metals. At the interface of the metal surface and the biofilm the pH is around 1 and there is a small electrical current produced by the bacteria. The combination can cause electrolysis of almost all metals.
Think of your spa or pool’s heater cores, motors, seals and metal fittings. The microscopic biofilm is slowly eating the metal causing mechanical failures that are costly to replace.
The take home message is that biofilm is a major contributor and cause of most problems in pools and spas. So, how do you get rid of it? Tune in next week for more.
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