Green & Growing

by Scott Webb, Aqua

The pool and spa industry has never been completely comfortable with halogen sanitizers. This merely reflects the general attitude of its customers, who find some aspects of chlorine and bromine use troubling, but have broadly accepted their necessity.

This vague but persistent disquiet has launched a number of innovations over the years that help produce clean, clear water with a reduced level of chlorine, all purporting to provide a more natural experience.

In this category one could include UV, ozone and minerals, among others. Recently, a plant-based product that uses the proven water conditioning properties of sphagnum moss has entered the market. It is growing in popularity and making true believers of industry veterans who have seen a great many such products come and go. "I've been doing this since 1968 and I've never seen anything like it," says Gary Grimes, president, Main Line Commercial Pool and Spa, King Of Prussia, Pa.

Grimes takes care of mostly commercial pools in the Philadelphia area. He says he thought sphagnum moss sounded like "snake oil" until he tried it and his customers started telling him what they were seeing: a dramatic lowering of chlorine usage, and an even more impressive lowering of chloramine production.

He began using sphagnum moss about a year ago and has been impressed with its performance in pool after pool (including his own), which he has documented. Currently, Main Line is using the moss in 15 to 20 commercial pools with plans to install it soon in five new locations.