Extending filter media life
New Zealand’s leading swim school, Hilton Brown Swimming, was founded in 1973 by 1966 British Empire and Commonwealth Games medallist Hilton Brown. Brown won bronze in the 440 yard (400 m) men’s medley relay and placed fifth in the 220 yard (200 m) men’s backstroke final at the Jamaica Games.
Starting with a single learn-to-swim program in Auckland, Hilton Brown Swimming grew to incorporate seven swim schools throughout New Zealand’s upper North Island. The latest is Hilton Brown Hobsonville, a state-of-the-art facility that includes a fully heated, 20 m purpose-built pool.
The reputation of any swimming facility is only as good as its water hygiene and sanitation. Poorly filtered and sanitised pool water can have negative physical health implications including skin infections, eye irritations and respiratory difficulties. According to Matt Pickford from H2O Engineering, unhygienic pool water can also easily undermine decades of good will and hard work.
“While this new facility doesn’t have massive bather loads — though it is growing — the school’s goal is to provide high-quality water for their swim staff and students,” Pickford said.
“Hilton Brown Swimming is committed to not only providing quality learn-to-swim programs, but also creating a health environment for everyone.”
The project called for a water filtration solution that not only delivered on that goal, but also effectively managed ongoing power, water and chemical costs.
Pickford said using Waterco’s commercial fibreglass Nozzle Plate Filters helped the Wapotec pool water treatment system remove contamination and get the most from the filtration plant. The filters ensure uniform flow for both filtering and backwashing, guaranteeing maximum performance through the media bed.
The nozzle plate system introduces pressurised air directly into the bottom of the filter media. This provides vigorous agitation and the filter media expansion required for an effective air/water backwash, leading to reduced backwashing times and water consumption, saving up to 25% of backwash water.
“You really need nozzle plate filters so you can air scour the filters from backwash and remove the coagulated material from the filter media. That is a very important part of the process for long-term reliability and performance,” Pickford said.
Normally with any strong coagulant, such as aluminium sulfate or polyaluminium chloride, filter media only lasts 12–18 months without the use of an air scourer.
“Whereas with nozzle plate filters, you introduce air every time you backwash to break up the media and release all of the congealed material into the backwash.
“We’ve got Waterco Nozzle Plate Filters on another council complex with three pools — which does get a hammering — and they have been producing really good water quality for around three years,” Pickford said.
With the pool currently operating at 0.8–0.85 free chlorine and almost zero chlorine combined — at 32°C — there is virtually no chlorine or chemical odours.
“We've always been impressed with Waterco’s high-quality commercial range, their level of service and their price range. Together, that makes it a very appealing product to recommend and install,” Pickford said.
Since installation in April 2018, the facility has received plenty of positive feedback from teaching staff.
“They haven’t reported any eye or ear irritations. In fact, they’ve said they feel the same getting out of the pool as when they got in, despite having been in the water for three or four hours,” Pickford said.
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