See below a comparison list with the pros and cons of the most common systems on the market.
Chlorine is the most common form of pool water sanitation used around the world it is an effective sanitiser when used correctly however it is extremely volatile making it hard to maintain a continuous safe residual level in a swimming pool, the number of serious health issues associated with chlorination are growing at an alarming rate prompting enquiries for safer alternatives.
Requires constant attention and dosing to maintain safe levels, extremely corrosive to pool, equipment, stone, cement, surrounding plants, coping and bathing suits, requires regular physical handling and transportation of the concentrated chemicals. Constant ongoing chemical costs including chlorine, stabaliser, acid, buffer, algaecides, floc, shock more……Industry favored due to constant revenue stream.
Whilst growing attention is focusing on the health concerns surrounding the use of chlorination for water treatment there is also another chemical associated with its use that is also causing concern. Cyanuric acid better know as stabaliser is used as a sun screen or UV protector to hold chlorine in the water for longer periods by reducing degradation by sunlight Cyanuric acid (CAS No 108-80-5) is a structural analogue of melamine. It may be found as an impurity of melamine. Melamine hit the headlines with the Chinese milk powder deaths and also the pet food scandal in the USA.
Pros: Low initial cost. readily available, industry supported.
Cons: Health issues associated with its use include cancer, asthma, birth defects, pregnancy problems, heart problems, skin allergies and more…. A quick google search "health effects of swimming in chlorine" will highlight nothing but bad news.
Salt Water Chlorination including Magnesium, Potassium & Mineral Pools
Salt water chlorination is the most commonly used pool sanitising system in Australia. It works by adding salt to the pool water which is then converted to chlorine using an electrolysis process as water passes through the treatment cell. The most commonly used salt is sodium chloride, more recently there has been a trend to substitute some of the sodium chloride with magnesium & potassium chloride but the end result is the same “chlorides are converted to chlorine using electrolysis. Clever marketing campaigns have resulted in a lot of users believing that a salt pool does not produce chlorine. The facts are, the sanitiser is 100% chlorine. Recently the word “salt” has been substituted with “mineral” in marketing campaigns but the the methodology has not changed they are still 100% chlorine. Salt pools typically required 3000 – 6000 part per million of salt (ppm), recently there have been a few systems emerging on the market that operate a little lower around 2500 ppm.
Pros: Salt chlorination reduces cost and handling associated with conventional chlorine treatment, provides automated chlorination while pool equipment is running.
Cons: Requires on going expensive chemical back up including stabaliser, algaecides, floc”s, shock,….. exposure to high chlorine levels and associated health risks as detailed in Chlorine section above, hard to maintain correct residual chlorine level in conditions of high heat, sunlight and bather load. Only works when pump is running resulting in lengthy run times and high energy costs. Water is high in TDS”s, corrosive, brackish and cannot be recycled without dilution. Salt water can damage rocks features, pool surrounds, equipment and gardens, as highlighted in this youtube video
Ozone is a very effective powerful oxidiser that has a very short life. The ozonator produces ozone gas that is injected in to the pool circulation system to aid the residual sanitiser. Ozone is becoming a popular back up for chlorine systems and salt water chlorinators.
Pros: Powerful oxidiser.
Cons: Expensive to purchase, provides point of contact treatment only and has no residual protection for the bather, Ozone gas is very toxic, the ozone generator must be installed in a way that it will prevent the ozone gas getting into the main pool water. Ozone requires an additional residual sanitiser most commonly chlorine and its associated chemicals. Only works when pump is running. An expensive add on that should not be required if the residual sanitiser is maintained correctly
Ionisation (Bioniser, Eclear and SwimFresh)
Ionisation: Copper/silver ionisation is the most popular form of swimming pool ionisation. Copper and silver are natures mineral sanitiser”s and have been used for thousands of years to sanitise water, treat burns, and many other uses, more recently NASA developed ionisation for sanitation use on the Apollo missions.
Pros: Copper and Silver are un effected by heat and UV which makes it easy to maintain a residual level in pool water. The copper and silver ions continue to work as an algaecide and biocide in the pool water even when the equipment is turned off.
Cons: Ionisers do not oxidise the organic compounds in the pool such as oils, dust, urine they require a residual oxidiser usually chlorine to be added to the pool. Ionisers have got a reputation for staining some types of pool surfaces.
There are many ioniser/oxidiser brands on the market including Ecosmarte, Bioniser, SwimFresh, Eclear & Aquamatics. Enviroswim is often mistakenly regarded as a similar product. It is not, Enviroswim’s patented technology is unique, uses a different methodology and is backed up by independent assurances. As an example if we compare Enviroswim with Bioniser's optional oxidiser add-on, the Enviroswim Oxidiser is a powerful 225 watts compared to the Bioniser's maximum quoted 9 watts. 9 Watts at the oxidiser cell will have little to no effect as an oxidising agent in swimming pool water and will certainly require chemical oxidisers such as chlorine or hydrogen peroxide to be added frequently to ensure safe water quality and good clarity. SwimFresh has absolute no oxidiser residual in the pool and therefore it cannot be regarded as a safe or satisfactory pool sanitiser. The Swim Fresh system uses ozone as an oxidiser which has zero residual properties (see ozone section above) in the bathing area of the pool. The only residual sanitisers in a SwimFresh pool are the copper and silver which on their own cannot meet the required guideline kill times to control dangerous bacteria in the pool and prevent bather to bather infection. This system will certainly require an additional oxidiser like chlorine to be added to the pool to meet the required standards. Our tip…a little time spent researching products and asking suppliers for third party independent evidence & assurances that their product will maintain your pool in a safe and reliable manner, is time well spent to help avoid disappointment and exposure to life threatening bacteria later on.
UV/Ozone + Hydrogen Peroxide Systems. (Waterco Hydroxypure & King Neptune)
Ozone is a good disinfectant , it provides point of contact treatment (in line only) and has no residual disinfectant protection for the general bathing area. UV is classed as a secondary sanitiser used to back up the primary residual sanitiser. Hydrogen Peroxide is a powerful oxidizer but has very limited disinfectant properties at safe human exposure levels in pools and spas. Hydrogen peroxide has been used as the oxidiser component in pools & spas in combination with other disinfectants like Polyhexinide. It is used as a hard surface disinfectant and has been granted registration for this purpose by the US EPA. When used as a hard surface disinfectant, hydrogen peroxide is normally used at around 3% (30,000 ppm) When used in recreational water, hydrogen peroxide is used as an oxidiser at levels of 100 to 150 ppm. At these low concentrations it is easy to see why hydrogen peroxide is not an effective disinfectant. Thus, UV-peroxide systems do not provide a persistent disinfectant in the bulk of the water in the facility. Further, hydrogen peroxide is not registered by the US EPA for use as a disinfectant in recreational water. The methodology of combining Ozone and Hydrogen Peroxide for swimming pool sanitation is considered unsatisfactory by most Australian State Health Departments It’s sale as a pool sanitiser is banned in the USA, Canada & most of Europe.
Pros: It is impossible to find any pros on these systems, as the methodology to date is scientifically proven to be an ineffective pool sanitising option by most health departments worldwide.
Cons: Products to date have not been laboratory tested to meet the APVMA efficacy test criteria as a satisfactory pool & spa sanitiser for use in Australia, details here . It is unlikely that hydrogen peroxide even when combined with silver could meet the required residual disinfectant criteria to ensure safe pool water and protect bathers from serious illness or worst. All previous scientific studies using ozone and hydrogen peroxide have proven hydrogen peroxide as a residual pool sanitiser to be ineffective. Ozone whilst having a good disinfectant efficacy only disinfects at point of contact and is very toxic, therefore no ozone residual must enter the pool bather area. This then leaves hydrogen peroxide as the only residual disinfectant protecting bathers. Certainly unsafe, unproven & not recommended. Other issues associated with these systems are the high ongoing running costs of purchasing, dosing and handling hydrogen peroxide in large volumes. Hydrogen Peroxide is listed as a product of high concern by the government anti terrorists department due to its use by terrorists for bomb making. Hydrogen Peroxide can also causes respiratory issues when used at concentrations high enough to provide a modicum of disinfectant in water. This not only contradicts but also highlights the hypocrisy of the Asthma Councils Sensitive Choice Mark issued to Waterco for their recently launched Hydroxypure system. The Sensitive Choice Mark is a paid endorsement giving exclusivity to one manufacturer effectively locking out all other manufacturers, regardless of the availability of better, safer products.
Note: Whilst we welcome innovative competition, we have a problem with the Waterco hydroxypure system, a claimed “new invention” that in our opinion is being deceptively advertised as an “approved” new product without first completing the APVMA approval laboratory requirements link here to ensure the safe introduction of a “new” sanitising system. In our opinion the laboratory test is essential prior to allowing the trial in a childrens water park on the Gold Coast. The current trial is effectively using children as human guinea pigs. The available scientific data from Health Departments, CDC, EPA highlights the Hydroxypure methodology as unsatisfactory for safe pool disinfection. We believe the required safety nets are not being followed by Waterco before releasing the system to market. We are currently in communication with the APVMA and the Gold Coast City Council who have denied any approval of the system other than allowing a trial based on assurances from the manufacturer! What assurances do they have to refute the current scientific data? The recent press releases issued by Waterco are in our opinion grossly deceiving and misleading for the uninitiated. We urge you to research all products before making any decision to avoid costly disappointment and risk to bathers. Here are a few links on Ozone + Hydrogen Peroxide, read pages 52/53 on this link , Vic Health Department link , NSW Health pg 26 link .
Update: We recently requested from the APVMA under their ”Freedom of Information” process, the scientific data they are relying upon to support their approval of Hydrogen Peroxide & Chlorine as suitable pool & spa sanitisers that meet their recently published efficacy guidelines for new sanitisers. Their reply “The information does not exist”. Read the decision report at this APVMA link dated 29th Aug 2014. The APVMA have also stated that they take no responsibility for public health & safety or approval of the use of their registered pool sanitisers, that responsibility falls upon individual State Health Authorities. Given the recent response we believe the APVMA should now review the suitability and efficacy of all chlorine & hydrogen peroxide based registered chemical pool sanitisers.
In the case of hydrogen peroxide the APVMA has confirmed they have no scientific data to suggest it is a satisfactory pool sanitiser that meets their pool sanitiser efficacy requirements, in contrast there is an overwhelming amount of data to suggest it does not. This is bad enough but it just gets worst. Currently there is a high terrorist alert in Australia. One of the most common chemicals used by terrorist for making explosives is hydrogen peroxide. The London Underground bombers and recent Brisbane house bomb factory both used Hydrogen Peroxide as an active ingredient. The following link will take you to a video that was released by the government to the pool industry. It does recommend that the video is not released to the public however as it is freely available to anyone on youtube we have decided to post the link here in the interest of public safety & awareness rather than the protection of the chemical industry. In our opinion we have complied enough independent data to demonstrate that the current approval and promotion of this chemical is ridiculous, dangerous & irresponsible and it should be removed without delay. video
Enviroswim and a few other systems are available that completely eliminate the need for the public to purchase, handle & store dangerous pool sanitising chemicals in residential and commercial properties. The reality is that the sale of pool chemicals is a multi million dollar business providing revenue to the APVMA and thousands of manufactures & retailers therefore it is unlikely to change without public awareness campaigns & support. Anyone can request a review of chlorine or hydrogen peroxide at this link we urge all supporters to lobby the APVMA by requesting a review based on the links supplied above and the APVMA’s confirmation that they have no supporting scientific data to contradict the EPA, CDC and State Health Departments.
Chlorine Free Chemical Systems using Polyhexinide also known as Baquacil, PHMB, known brand names Lo Chlor’s Aquaspa & Aquafresh.
Promoted as a chlorine free system, baquacil has been used for many years in small residential pools. It is not a very effective sanitiser and is not recommended for use in commercial pools or large residential pools.
Pros: Chlorine Free,
Cons: Polyhexinide is currently under revue by the Australian Pesticides & Veterinary Medical Authority (APVMA) due to carcinogenic (cancer causing) concerns with the chemical. Polyhexinide can also cause anaphylactic shock, its use is banned in many parts of the world for this reason. It is also known to cause irritation & inflame allergies in pool water.. see this link. A quick Google search on “baquacil problems” will highlight the issues to anyone considering using this method for sanitising swimming pools & spas. Polyhexinide also requires Hydrogen Peroxide to be added to the pool at regular intervals as an active oxidiser, therefore adding to the ongoing running costs and handling of dangerous chemicals. Chlorine is not compatible and must not be used in with this system.
Enviroswim ES3 System Unique Patented Electronic Sanitiser
Enviroswim ES3 patented system provides sparkling fresh water using natural minerals, sound waves and electronic oxidising. Enviroswim water is low in total dissolved solids (TDS”s) creating a healthy freshwater environment. This is achieved by eliminating most of the regular dissolved chemical additives associated with conventional systems.
Pros: Eliminates the need to purchase, handle or add liquid chlorine, granular chlorine, non chlorine oxidiser, hydrogen peroxide, Aquabrite, Pool Fresh, Aquaspa, Aquafresh stabaliser (cyanuric acid see chlorine section above), algaecides & flocculent. Reduces energy costs, chemical costs, chemical handling, exposure to toxic/carcinogenic by products associated with chlorine and cyanuric acid. Pool water/backwash can be used undiluted on gardens and does not attack rock features and copings. Provides a genuine return on investment through low running costs together with health and environmental benefits. Government supported development, in 2009 met NSF standard 50 as a stand alone sanitiser. Providing world leading independent assurances for consumers.
Note: Enviroswim is not currently registered with NSF International due to the financial costs of maintaing the certificate verses the volume of USA sales. Once USA sales grow to an acceptable volume we intend to re-list with NSF. This should not detract readers from the fact that we are one of very few Australian manufacturers who have invested $100'sK on the independent accreditation of our product for our customers assurance & safety.
Cons: Initial cost is higher than some other methods, however unlike our chemical hungry competitors, Enviroswim provides a true return on investment and will provide a pay back on the extra upfront cost in a very short time. Chemically driven industry, including most pool shops can be reluctant to endorse the system due to the low on going chemical revenue after installing the system.
There are many products on the market making claims that are unsubstantiated. Most are designed to feed the recurring chemical revenue stream that supports the pool industry.
Enviroswim is different; we have little to offer the industry in terms of ongoing chemical sales & revenue. A consequence of this is, many pool shops, pool techs and advisory blogs will attempt to talk uninitiated pool owners out of using the Enviroswim system with claims that it is “not approved” "doesn't work" "not safe". Nothing could be further from the truth. The facts don’t lie.. Enviroswim is one of a few product in the world that has been rigorously tested by independent certifiers and a government laboratory proving it to be far more effective than chlorine for controlling common pool bacteria. Enviroswim has years of trouble free history working in commercial pools that are tested monthly for microbiological contamination.
We will happily defend and back up the information & comparisons listed on this page. As always we urge pool owners to do their research in order to make an informed decision.
Ultimately it is your money and your choice, don’t be talked into a system that benefits the reseller more than you the purchaser.
Read more about the average cost of running a swimming pool.