But chlorine, water heating systems and litres of wastewater are not what you’d call sustainable.
Bio pools, or natural swimming pools, are the eco answer to back yard swimming pools. But they still remain a bit of a mystery.
How do they stay clean? Are they really safe and healthy?
How do bio pools work?
Bio pools are natural swimming pools. Rather than relying on chemicals to keep them clean, they use ecological systems (plants) and bio-technology.
The classic bio pool works by having two zones: a central swimming area, and a shallower surrounding area with plants specially chosen to purify the water.
But there are many variations on this. Some bio pools have separate swimming and purifying areas, while the latest concept makes it possible to have no plants but use natural bio filters installed inside or outside the pool.
100% natural filtration
BioNova Natural Pools, which set up in Australia nine years ago, specialises in bio pools, and bio pools only. Their pools are self-cleaning, self-sustainable fresh water eco-systems.
A biological filter keeps the pools clean. This is a water garden where micro-organisms, microbes and water plants continually clean the water. Plant roots absorb nutrients from the water that micro-organisms release during the decomposition of germs and other natural substances.
German-founded GartenART has designed and built natural swimming pools in Europe since 1995. Founder Ralf Schmiel moved to Australia in 2009 and founded GartenART – Australia.
“Australia, with its unique climates and unique wildlife, needs uniquely designed natural pools,” he said.
GartenART’s latest developments are pool conversions, which can be achieved without plants. They use powerful natural micro-biology filters, which sit below a gravel surface and are powered by submerged, low voltage pumps.
Bio pool maintenance
Maintenance is simple too – and less effort than is required for a conventional pool.
Water plants will need cutting seasonally, the same as land plants. Filters need to be cleaned twice a year, and side walls, ledges and steps might need brushing a few times a year to remove bio film.
The Aquaviva website features a calculator that uses your pool’s size and depth to work out the basic essentials of a natural filtration system.
Health – and eco - benefits
Swimming in natural, chemical-free water is bound to have its benefits. Here are some of the plusses of bio pools:
No more dry skin and hair or stinging eyes
No pool water containing chemicals enters the sewage systems, soil, rivers and seas
Natural water doesn’t aggravate skin problems
For people with asthma or lung illness, natural water is good for swimming
Lower running costs and less water consumption