When the city of St. Paul got a chance to pilot a green initiative in its swimming pools a couple years ago, it jumped at it.
Since then, the city has become an international leader in the technology that uses moss to reduce chlorine and save water and money.
Recently, the project was also one of three to nab a Governor’s Award for Pollution Prevention, the Pioneer Press reports
It started when a local company, Creative Water Solutions
, approached the city about trying the moss technology at the Highland Park Aquatic Center, at no charge.
Brad Meyer, a spokesperson for the Parks and Recreation department, explains via email that at the time, “The technology worked in smaller settings, but hadn’t been tried yet in large settings like a municipal pool,” he says.
The city’s pools get a lot of use, so water quality is a constant concern, according to Meyer.
To stay on top of it, more chemicals were being used, which is costlier and has environmental repercussions, he says.
In 2009, the city experimented with sphagnum moss at the Highland Park Aquatic Center. It fully rolled out the technology at the pool in 2010. At that time it also expanded it at the Great River Water Park. Como Pool will use the technology when it reopens in 2012, according to Meyer.
Now, besides the regular chemical treatment that the water gets as it goes through various pipes in the mechanical room, it also gets filtered by the moss, which “re-conditions" it.
As a result of the technology, chemical use at the pools has been cut in half. Also, the moss doesn’t leave any residue, making cleanup at the end of the season easier, he says.
The renewable resource also benefits swimmers in that it “allows users to not experience the burning/itchy eyes and green hair that often come with normal municipal pools,” he says.
Further, since the city adopted the technology, Creative Water Solutions has brought it to more than 50 municipal pools, according to Meyer.
Source: Brad Meyer, spokesperson, St. Paul Parks
Writer: Anna Pratt