Looking outside the box for answers
Bill Mansfield, BioLab’s technical services and training facilitator, was perplexed. He was helping a client whose pool was constantly cloudy. It would not hold an acceptable sanitiser level and they could not work out why.
“I went through the normal procedures of discovery with the client to determine what was going on, but nothing really pointed out why their pool was struggling,” Mansfield said.
When he couldn’t find a solution inside the pool, he decided to look outside the pool for answers. He asked the client to send photos of the pool environment in case it held clues to the pool’s cloudiness.
When he received the photos, he spotted something that he thought could be the cause of the problem: two large trees (an olive and an almond tree) were overhanging the pool.
“I pointed this out to them and informed them that flowering and fruiting trees are particularly bad in regards to adding organic material and, as such, add greatly to the chlorine demand. They make holding a sanitiser level very difficult,” said Mansfield.
The client took it upon themselves to dig deeper and found that almond trees, aside from adding organic matter to the water, also contain chlorine neutralisers. Mansfield also did some research and, while he couldn’t find anything specific to pools, learned that almond leaves contain antioxidants. Chlorine is an oxidant, so when the almond leaves came into contact with the chlorine, the two substances effectively cancelled each other out, leaving the pool without sufficient chlorine to sanitise the water.
“I asked for photos of their environment because when all the mechanics are doing the right thing, you need to look elsewhere for answers. Most people forget that a pool is an open environment and constantly exposed to the weather and surrounding gardens,” Mansfield said.
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