The Swimming Pool
The swimming pool is large (approx 8m x 5m x 1.5m). It has been fully renovated as an (optionally) eco-friendly hybrid bio-pool. The main pool and bio-filter pond (basically a technically-advanced reed-bed system with various layers of specially-chosen aggregates) is separated from the main swimming area by the wall seen in the foreground. There is an ultraviolet lamp to sterilize the water and ensure that any unpleasant organisms do not survive the filtration process. It should be safe to drink the water (I have, many times, and use it for fresh water in the villa), but obviously others have used the pool and therefore I cannot guarantee water safety at any time! So I would advise not drinking the water, and also would ask that no organic or inorganic materials of any kind are introduced into the system, such as blood, sun creams, urine, soap powders, chlorine, salts, other pool chemical treatments, and so on... just a clean you, please. Otherwise, the system may become unbalanced for a long while, or fail completely, disappointing other guests and putting you and others at risk.
The swimming pool:
The "plastic lilies":
The "plastic lilies" are home made insulation panels, needed because the pool is not quite rectangular and a single sheet design would be difficult. They can be stacked on top of each other for swimming, or carefully removed (by two people, please) from the pool. Please note that they are very fragile and bend very easily, and are not to be used as toys either in or out of the pool.
The pool is heated and sometimes cooled by a large and efficient direct-heating solar-powered system (of total area approximately 20 square metres) laid out along the top of an arbour in the garden. This gives out an astonishing amount of free heating power during the day, and enables the temperature to very quickly reach about three degrees below the daily maximum air temperature, enabling the pool to be used with comfort throughout a large part of the year (depending of course upon the weather).
The pumphouse and environmental/solar heating panel:
If operating biologically out of summer high season, you'll be delighted by being able to swim in perfectly fresh water. During high season, a small amount of chlorine is added to counteract the growth of algae in the stronger sun.
Of course, when in biological operation, the pool contains some algae and some insects that feed on them, such as pondskaters and waterboatmen ("backswimmers"), as you would expect, and in fact they are an indication of the quality of the water. Also, with sunlight and as there can be nutrients in the water, you should expect some algal growth on the pool walls and floor. THIS IS HARMLESS AND IS PERFECTLY NORMAL! There is a pump-driven circulation with an ultraviolet lamp to sterilize the water, ensuring that any unpleasant organisms do not survive the filtration process. However, take care if there is any algae on the steps, as it can be slippery. See below for just a few links to bio-pool information, and some about the risks of chlorine pools.
- BioNova Natural Pools
- Bio Piscinas, Lda., Portugal
- Bio-Top Pools
- Clear Water Revival
- Daily Mail: chlorine in pools giving children asthma
- Discovery: Chlorinated Pools May Increase Cancer Risk
- EcoPools Online
- Good Housekeeping: Natural Swimming Pools
- Living Pool USA
- Organic Pool courses (DIY), Norfolk, UK
- Surrey Swimming Pools Bio Design Pools, UK
- Wikipedia: Natural Pool
- Woodhouse Natural Pools, Cambridge, UK