November 22 2009

Natural Swimming Pools: The Sustainable Pond

Natural swimming pools (NSPs) are a way to blend the sustainability and natural beauty of a pond with the functionality of a swimming pool. NSPs use biological filtration in lieu of the more common chemical or chlorine water cleaning systems used in most artificial swimming pools. The pools generally consist of a swimming area and a filtration area which can interact and be visible as much or as little as the designer wishes. The pools have a tendency to look more natural than completely artificial pools but can be made to look extremely contemporary as is evidenced in the images below. To date there are over 20,000 NSPs in Europe although there are none to date in the US.

Night Pool Image by ClearWaterRevival

Image 11 by Michael LittlewoodImage 12 by Michael Littlewood

A simple description can be was done by Meg West with Arcadia Studio:

[?] the pool is divided into two roughly equal sized areas: a swimming zone, and a regeneration zone. The swimming zone is not really any different than a ?normal? pool - it can be a lap pool, or a bean shaped pool, or a pond. The regeneration zone, however, is where interesting things happen.

Water spills over from the swimming zone into the regeneration zone, where aquatic plants rooted in gravel act as a biofilter. Water cleansing is achieved with zooplankton, phytoplankton, and water plants. As the water filters through the plants? root zones and a sediment filter tank, all the impurities are essentially ?eaten? by natural microorganisms.

800px-Single_Chamber_NSP Wikipedia_by BionaturalpoolsImage 01

My attraction to these systems is likely personal as I grew up swimming in clear, freshwater, lakes in Sweden (?cold as well?). No trace of chlorine or artificial agents and yet the water was healthy and refreshing, with the exception of the occasional obvious duck, fish, leech or lily pad to make the swim more exciting. The most interesting aspect of these pools is that they can be installed in both rural and urban areas. The way NSPs blend nature, architecture and human activity is really a great example of how to properly design the systems of the future. I hope I have the chance to swim in an NSP soon? otherwise a cold Swedish lake will have to suffice.

For more information please visit the relevant wikipedia article.

Names that stand out in the field include: BioNova, Woodhouse Natural Pools, Clear Water Revival, and Michael Littlewood Landscape Designer among others.

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8 Comments

January 28th, 2010 at 12:54 PM

Landscaping

Natural swimming pools are cheaper and sustain our environment.

July 3rd, 2010 at 6:23 PM

mst

These natural pools are so beautiful!

July 6th, 2010 at 10:57 PM

Shea

Beautiful--in every way! If I had a bit more money and yard, I would do this... There are really NONE in the US? Seems like it would go over in Cali.

July 6th, 2010 at 11:30 PM

Derk

My step mothers parent house had one of these in bucks county PA. It was very nice. They were first generation Germans, so they must have brought the idea from over there.

July 13th, 2010 at 6:16 AM

Stephanie

Not only cheaper and sustain the environment, but they are, in my opinion, more beautiful as well (:

August 7th, 2010 at 5:54 PM

Cool!

Sounds like a great idea. Great for the environment. Theoretically it could work in urban areas. But two pools would need a great deal of space so these NSPs would be expensive and land intensive, so maybe only suburbs? Chuck some figures at me article writer and we will see if this idea has any room to expand as a real business.

August 8th, 2010 at 1:28 AM

pissant

"yet the water was healthy and refreshing,".. yippee! a chance to get a parasite... if I ever find out someone I know makes one of these, I will befriend a scientist and get a sample of "Primary Amoebic Meningoencephalitis" This will be a real treat for the swimming guests... The parasite typically thrives in warm fresh water and enters through the nostrils, where it leads to rapid olfactory necrosis. It then follows the nerves into the cranial cavity itself, where it devours the brain tissue. Coma, and, almost unfailingly, death, follow within a couple of weeks. or maybe just some nasty water moccasins, chiggers, and mosquitoes?

October 20th, 2010 at 1:57 AM

jimkottar

I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. http://www.NATURALSWIMMINGPOOLScentre.CO.uk I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

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