Salt water pools are almost universally considered to be nonchlorine pools. In fact, these pools contain extremely high chlorine levels. Users of these salt systems seem to think that somehow common salt is a magic form of disinfectant that does not use chlorine.
The actual technology of a salt system involves breaking salt (NaCl) into its core components, one of which is the active form of chlorine (hypochlorous acid). This chlorine is no different than the various forms of chlorine purchased in liquid, powdered or tableted forms and added manually to the pool.
Copious amounts of stabilizer are required in salt pools to prevent chlorine from being dissipated by UV rays from the sun. This stabilizer (cyanuric acid) brings it’s own set of health concerns and is not required in the Oxygen Pools program.
Salt pools usually require higher chlorine levels than most pools because salt in the water creates a high pH environment and chlorine is much less effective at pH levels of 7.6 or highr. Most salt pools tend to run a pH of 7.6-8.1 and, in these alkaline conditions, chlorine is ineffective at normal levels of 1-3 ppm.
HOW EFFECTIVE IS AN OXYGEN BASED TREATMENT PROGRAM?
The actual sanitation demands of a residential pool are quite manageable considering the level of use they usually receive. In the case of oxygen-based treatment, a mechanically produced oxidizer (ozone) is automatically injected into the pool which removes organics from the water quickly and efficiently. Whatever ozone is not used for direct oxidation contributes to dissolved ozone in the water which breaks down to a safe residual level of hydrogen peroxide.
In addition to the peroxide residual, a weekly shock treatment, such as Formula “O”(which includes non chlorine shock, algaecide, clarifier and metal sequestrant) will provide safe, crystal clean water in 98% of residential pools.
If a particular pool has unusually high usage or unexpected problems, the regular oxygen based program can be supplemented with a dose of 27% pool grade hydrogen peroxide for a straightforward and inexpensive solution for high demand pools.
STABILIZED CHLORINE AND OXYGEN LONGEVITY IN WATER
The drawback of both chlorine and oxygen (ozone) treatment systems has been the lack of a residual oxidizer in the water. Chlorine requires a stabilizer in the form of cyanuric acid to remain stable in water.
There are serious health concerns about the effects on human kidneys when cyanuric acid used as a stabilizer as well as concerns about the effect of chlorine on humans by absorption into the lungs and through the skin. In spite of the undesirable side effects, once stabilized by cyanuric acid, chlorine is capable of providing longer term residual protection against the formation of bacteria. The issue for many poolowners is that the side effects of chlorine use far outweigh its benefits.
By comparison, oxygen in the form of dissolved ozone is not toxic to humans when dissolved in water, so there are no health concerns as there are when using high amounts of stabilized chlorine.
There is no stabilizer used with ozone. Since it is a much more effective oxidizer than chlorine, simply lengthening the injection time into the pool will maintain satisfactory levels of residual oxidizer in the water. By continuing to add fresh Ozone to the water while the pool pump is running, the oxidation reduction potential (ORP) in water is maintained at levels easily sufficient to maintain safe water.
SHOCKING OF THE POOL
Both chlorine and oxygen treated pools should be shocked regularly. Shocking provides a safety margin against times when the pump is not running or when demand levels spike after heavy rains, winds or high bather loads.
In chlorine pools, shocking is accomplished with extremely high chlorine levels. Conversely, in an oxygen based pool, water is shocked with a particular blend of a nonchlorine activated oxygen additive along with clarifiers, stain protection and algaecide. By shocking the water, a secondary oxidative effect is added to assure safe water in residential pools.