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Formerly Silver Bullet Water Treatment Company is now a part of Clear Comfort.
Silver Bullet Water Treatment Company is now a part of Clear Comfort.

Pool Story: How a YMCA pool improved air quality

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If you can’t see your facility’s pool you shouldn’t be able to smell it. The chemical pool smell that lurks into hallways, lobbies and locker rooms isn't only unpleasant, but also toxic to inhale. However, aquatic facilities, like the Boulder Valley YMCA, have been trailblazers for facilities looking to improve air quality, while protecting the health of swimmers, staff and our environment. 

The Challenge:

Traditionally chlorinated indoor pools trap contaminated air, making the pool and surrounding areas stuffy and odorous. People often have the common misconception that this pool odor comes from chlorine - when in fact - it’s chloramines, the disinfection byproduct of chlorine reacting to organic material like sweat, skin oils and urea.  Chloramines can also cause eye irritation, allergies and asthma. Some facilities resort to adding a shock with more chlorine to counteract chloramines, but this is a short-term solution that can be hazardous for swimmers and staff. Pool smell also poses a threat to your facility's reputation because, more than any other sense, smell has the strongest connection to memory. So how can you make sure that your members remember the facility's hard-earned quality and pool odor permeating your entire facility? At the Boulder Valley YMCA in Colorado swimmers and staff were taking notice to the indoor pool smell not just in the pool area, but also in the gym. So, the YMCA took action and sought a healthier, more enjoyable and sustainable solution for its members and staff. 

The Solution:

In early 2015, former VP of Facilities, Keith Williams discovered a local company called Clear Comfort that offered a new approach to pool sanitation. Using a process that mimics how our atmosphere cleans our air, Clear Comfort’s hydroxyl-based advanced oxidation system offered the YMCA a way to reduce chlorine use, pool smell and chemical costs. While the pool technology had been independently test and used in industrial water treatment for ten years, in 2015 Clear Comfort was in its second year of operation - yet Williams saw an opportunity.

The Results:

Clear Comfort’s results spoke for themselves. After installation, the Clear Comfort system destroyed 90+ percent of the disinfection byproducts from the YMCA pool. In addition, the YMCA pool eliminated 70 percent of its chlorine use and costs, which reduced the need for toxic chemical dosing, water balance and overall maintenance. "We found great results in the pool environment: a lower chlorine level, getting rid of the traditional enclosed pool smell,” said Williams, “It changed the whole environment of bad air flow. The smell, the whole feeling." The bottom line: less chlorine means less problems for aquatic facilities. Reducing pool chlorine use is an all-encompassing solution for removing and preventing pool chemical odor and the health problems that accompany it. In 2017, the Boulder Valley YMCA maintains crisp air quality and clean, fresh-feeling pool water that both staff and swimmers can appreciate. To read a letter from the Chris Coker, CEO of the YMCA Boulder Valley, discussing the facility's green efforts with Clear Comfort, click here.  

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Little boy aged 8 jumping into swimming pool. The boy is caught mid air.