Natural Swimming Pools

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<p>Natural Swimming PoolsThe Total GuideBy Mick Hilleary Dale Gracywww.totalhabitat.com We at Total Habitat have included as much information as possible into this book. We find it to be a short, but worthy treatise on the subject and know of no other books on this subject at the time of publishing. As much as we wish to include more - every how-to book is a work in progress and we will publish new editions as time and information allow. If you find an error in this book, we welcome your comments and corrections. Please e-mail them to: mick@totalhabitat.com. Thank you for your interest in Natural Swimming Pools. We are obliged to honor Peter Petrich, the pioneering Austrian engineer who was one of the first to attempt to create a water purification based on plants (founding BioTop in 1984) and Ken Andrews, a little known American chemist who created a natural water cleaning system for his pool/pond (much like the one we use) in 1955. Much is to be done to spread the word about Natural Swimming Pools. We are doing our part and we look forward to more and larger projects, municipal size pools have been successfully done in Europe we need a few bold clients in the USA. eBook ISBN 0-9752731-0-8 Copyright 2003 Total Habitat</p> <p>Habitat Books5152 N Hillside, Wichita KS 67219 316-644-5848</p> <p>Contents Contents1 Contents ......................................................3 City Folk vs Country Folk 2 Swimming Naturally .....................................4 The Big Recipe 3 .................................................................4 Natural Water Cleaning 4 City Folk vs Country Folk ...............................5 Sizing Pools, Pumps and Filters 11 TheBigRecipe ..............................................6 So many Possibilities 19 Natural Water Cleaning .................................7 Planning and Design 22 Sizing Pools, Pumps and Filters ................... 1 4 Planted Filter Plants 25 So many Possibilities .................................. 2 2 Site Marking and Layout 27 Planning and Design.................................. 2 5 Soil Excavation 28 Protective Underlayment 29 Planted Filter Plants ................................... 2 8 Liner Installation 30 Site Marking and Layout .............................. 3 0 Swim Zone Retaining Wall 31 Soil Excavation .......................................... 3 1 Swim Zone Retaining Wall - Detail 32 ProtectiveUnderlayment ............................... 3 2 Planted Filter Details 33 Liner Installation ...................................... 3 3 Biofilter Waterfall Details 34 Swim Zone Retaining Wall.......................... 3 4 Biofilter Waterfall Assembly 35 Swim Zone Retaining Wall - Detail .............. 3 5 Pool Birth &amp; Maintenance 38 Planted Filter Details .................................. 3 6 Products 40 Biofilter Waterfall Details............................ 3 7 Index 46 Biofilter Waterfall Assembly ......................... 3 8 Pool Birth &amp; Maintenance ........................... 4 1 Products ..................................................... 4 3 Swimming Naturally</p> <p>Index ...................................... 4 9TOC</p> <p>Swimming NaturallyOur Natural Swimming Pools Feature: Clean, Clear Water (no mud on the bottom) Affordable (about the same cost as a traditional pool to build, but lessongoing costs chemicals for traditional pools can run $300.00 $600.00 a year)</p> <p> Low Maintenance (much less than a traditional pool) Year Round Beauty Year Round Fun Passive Solar Heating (for extended swimming opportunities) Water Feature Therapy (which we all can use) Lets Go Swimming Have you ever seen how many pounds of chemicals go into a typical swimming pool? Have you ever read the warning labels on the chemicals used to sterilize typical swimming pools? The basic philosophy behind water quality in a typical swimming pool is to kill everything short of killing the swimmer. There is another way. In a natural swimming pool we harness natures own processes to produce clean, clear water. If you have ever had the opportunity to swim in a crystal clear lake or stream, then you know the sense of bliss that only nature can supply. Swimming is much more enjoyable without burning eyes and chemical odor. In Europe they have built hundreds of natural swimming pools since 1985. Interviews with pool owners have shown overwhelming satisfaction. A great place to swim is not the only benefit that a natural swimming pool provides. It becomes the center piece of your own personal paradise, your own reflection pool, one you can retreat to when ever you want. With flowering plants, a waterfall and a few fish, your pool becomes a beautiful water garden. You can enjoy it all year round. If you are in a cold climate, you can go ice skating. Your natural swimming pool is far more attractive in the cooler months than a covered swimming pool. Realtors have found that houses with well constructed water gardens increase resale value more than houses with traditional swimming pools. A natural swimming pool is a great addition to a holistic life-style. Humans have been enjoying natural water resources for millions of years. With fresh water resources waning in many parts of the world, it is nice to know that you have 20 to 30 thousand gallons handy.</p> <p>1</p> <p>City Folk vs Country FolkPeople living in rural areas often have more experience than city dwellers swimming in natural water. Swimming holes, lakes and farm ponds are enjoyed world wide. The water may not be perfectly clear, it may have fish and other little critters in it and a layer of mud on the bottom, but on a hot summer day it is the most refreshing experience around. Generations enjoy these water resources and continually improve them. Sharing the water with wildlife is a good thing: they stay out of your way when you are swimming and its a joy to discover the rest of the time. City folk on the other hand have more experience with chlorinated pools. Public or private swimming pools typically have clear water, white bottoms, and any wildlife that happens along dies in contact to the water. Sadly, some city folk harbor fears of natural water. To that we say, Courage is having done it before, so it is up to the rest of us to spread the good news about swimming naturally. In a well designed natural swimming pool, the water is clear (you see what is in it) and it is beautiful. The goal of this book is to enable you (the home owner or contractor) to embark on a natural swimming pool project and successfully emerge. We believe that in years to come natural swimming pools will be more popular than traditional pools. The triumph of the natural swimming philosophy is built one pool at a time. We are dedicated to giving you the best information, products and methods to make your project a lasting scenic heirloom.</p> <p>2</p> <p>The Big RecipeThe goal of a Natural Swimming Pool project is to create a balanced, self contained, self cleaning ecosystem. We start with a hole in the ground and add a liner so it holds water very well. We establish a swimming zone and a filtering zone. We add skimmers, filters, plumbing and a water pump to constantly turn over water through the system. Throw in a UV sterilizer for added security and some means of aeration, add plants and an army of friendly bacteria to get the system started, allow a little time for these to establish, and there you have it go swimming. You have the best swimming pond you have ever seen and it is ready for years of enjoyment. The Anatomy of a Natural Swimming Pool Natural water chemistry is very complicated. No two ponds in nature are exactly alike, and the chemistry of every body of water changes constantly. The seasons, rain, runoff, debris in the wind and the ponds physical makeup all affect the water quality. Safe, clean natural bodies of water change, but fluctuate within an expectable range. This is the goal of our Natural Water Cleaning System. For our Natural Water Cleaning System (and any system for that matter) to work properly throughout the year, in diverse conditions, and in many regions of the country, a certain amount of overkill is required. Traditional pools use an overkill of chemical disinfectants to keep the water clean, we use natural processes. If you follow our principles and guide lines you will be successful.</p> <p>fig. 3.1 The Anatomy of a Natural Swimming Pool Biofilter Waterfall Cleans water coming from the skimmer via UV sterilizer</p> <p>Filter ZonePlanted Filter Filter Retaining Wall</p> <p>Planted Filter Pump &amp; UV Sterilizers The pump sucks water from the slotted plastic drain tube under the planted filter and/or a skimmer and pushes it through a UV sterilizer and to the waterfall, stream or bottom out flow.</p> <p>Slotted Plastic Drain Tile</p> <p>Swimming ZonePlant Filter Medium A mixture of haydite and river rock. Provides a bioflter medium for the moving water and a growth medium for water plants. Bottom In or Out Flow Stirs up water from the bottom to prevent untreated water.</p> <p>3</p> <p>Natural Water CleaningSystem Basics I. Containing Water Water Tight Liner II. Moving Water through the System Pumping &amp; Plumbing III. Filtration Mechanical Filtration Skimmer Biological Filtration Planted filters Biofilter Waterfall (Aeration) UV sterilizer IV. Maintaining Water Level Auto-filling Overflow V. Careful Choice of Materials For thriving plants and to maintain pH and other potential variables VI. Nurturing the Pool into Maturity Growing a Balanced System</p> <p>fig. 4.1 The Anatomy of a Natural Swimming Pool (part 2)</p> <p>Dog Cat</p> <p>Liner Locked In Above Maximum Water Level Skimmer Sucks leaves and other floating debris off the surface of the water. Water pulled thru skimmer is sent to the Biofilter Waterfall via a UV sterilizer.</p> <p>Liner and Underlayment Material Packed sand ledge to support the under water retaining wall and pier.</p> <p>4</p> <p>I. Containing Water Water Tight Liners Though you can; dig a hole, pack it with clay, and hope it holds water. We recommend using a more predictable method - water tight liners. Anything you put in the pool should be fish/people safe - without algaecides or flame retardants. UV light from the sun is the most damaging factor for a liner, so cover the liner in shallow and dry areas completely (with approved rocks or soil). Always follow the manufacturers recommendations for installation and seaming. For 20+ years of service use: Firestone Pondguard EDPM rubber (fig. 5.1), 45 mil or 60 mil, great for small to medium size projects, flexible - good choice for sites with predominantly clay soil (handles expansion and contraction), it gets heavy and requires more helpers to install. $.62 Sq Ft - $1.10 Sq Ft depending on where you buy it and shipping. 20 year manufacturers warranty. Medium Density Polyethylene or Reinforced Polyethylene (fig. 5.2), 20 mil, 24 mil, or 30 mil thickness, stiffer material than rubber, great for large projects, sizes up to 40,000 Sq Ft available, $.35 Sq Ft - $85 Sq Ft depending on where you buy it and shipping. 20 year manufacturers warranty. II. Moving Water through the System Pumping &amp; Plumbing Just like you, a healthy natural pool is a living machine. It has a circulatory system and the pump(s) are truly the heart of the system (fig. 6.3). Cheap water pumps use lots of electricity and expensive pumps use little. Pump efficiency is a critical matter. A 100 dollar pump (which might only last a year) could use 1000 dollars of electricity in one year. Likewise, a 1000 dollar pump could use 100 dollars of power. Both would cost 1100 dollars the first year, but the 1000 dollar pump will save considerable cash over the life of the pump (and could last 3 - 5 years). We like: W. Lim Wave and Dragon pumps (fig. 6.1), and Money Saver Pumps (fig. 6.2). For plumbing we like 2 and 3 flexible PVC tubing, it costs more, but the labor savings are considerable and its ability to resist freeze breakage allows me to sleep well on cold winter nights. We find PVC ball valves to be affordable and reliable for diverting flow as the system requires. Figuring Total Head The higher the pump must push the water, the less water will be pumped. The terms head or lift are used to indicate the rise, measuring how high the water must be pumped for a particular application. Pumping water through tubing (to a waterfall, for example) adds resistance. Allow for friction loss inside the tubing, by adding about one foot of head for every 10 feet of horizontal running tube. Add an allowance for friction loss to the vertical distance (in feet) that you will be pumping the water. The vertical distance or lift is measured from the surface of the pool to the top of the waterfall. The resulting sum will be the total head that the pump will be required to pump. You should compare the amount of flow that you require to the flow rate that the pump provides at this specific head.fig. 5.2 Fiber Reinforced Polyethylene, 20 mil, 24 mil, or 30 mil thickness - Sizes up to 200 x 200. Bend Tarp Company, Bend, OR</p> <p>fig. 5.1 Pond Guard EDPM Rubber - .045 &amp; .060 Thick - Firestone</p> <p>5</p> <p>Example: Figure Head Vertical distance between pond surface level and the top of the waterfall is 3 feet and you have 20 feet of tubing between the pump and the waterfall. So, your total head is 5 feet (2 feet for 20 running horz. + 3 vertical). If you have a bunch of valves and elbows add 2 or 3 more feet to the total head/lift height. Always check with the pump manufacturer if there is a doubt about the pump performance at a specific head or pumping height.</p> <p>fig 6.1 Dragon Pump by W. Lim (very high efficient)</p> <p>IV. Maintaining Water Level Auto-filling An Auto-fill (fig. 10.1) is an inexpensive way to keep the pool full despite the constant loss to evaporation (which can be as much as 1 on a hot and windy day). It works just like the float valve in your toilet and it installs into the skimmer or under the dock (we prefer under the dock because, on some skimmers, as the filter pad soils the water level drops behind it - a float valve installed in this situation will unnecessarily add water to the pool). Use a hose spigot for the water source and supply it with buried Black 1/2 poly tube. Attaching a on/off Y valve to your hose spigot allows you to, use the spigot for hoses, and to supply the pool, simultaneously.</p> <p>fig 6.2 Variable Output Pump by Money Saver (programmable and very high efficient)</p> <p>Typical Plumbing System OverviewFeaturing: (but, simplified a bit) Valve 2/3 of the flow to Planted Filter Pumping Loop and 1/3 of the flow to the Skimmer Green tubes represent water pulled from the pool Blue tubes represent water returning to the poolUV Sterilizers (Split supply) Biofilter Waterfall fig. 6.3 Single Pump Plumbing System Overview</p> <p>Overflow</p> <p>Skimmer Return to Bottom Flow Water Pump</p> <p>Vortex Pre-filter (optional)</p> <p>Perforated Drain Tile (under the planted filter)</p> <p>Underwater Wall</p> <p>6</p> <p>III. Filtration What are we filtering out of the water? Larger debris (i.e....</p>