EDMONTON, AB: BORDEN NATURAL SWIMMING POOL, FIRST OF ITS KIND IN CANADA
This story is brought to you in part by
By Cori Marshall
If you live in the city, or suburbs and don't have access to a backyard pool or lake (that is safe for swimming) chances are during the hot summer months a public pool is where you may go to cool off and take a swim. Water quality at public pools is a priority to ward off recreational water illnesses (RWI).
Usually, this water quality maintenance takes the form of circulation systems, filtration systems, and sanitizing with chlorine or bromine.
Shocking your pool is also important, which is adding chlorine to eliminate chloramines in the water which form when "chlorine mixes with ammonia in sweat, oils and urine," according to SwimUniversity.com.
The City of Edmonton is offering the public an alternative to chemical pool maintenance. The Borden Natural Swimming Pool is being promoted as "Canada's first public, man-made, natural swimming pool." WaterToday spoke with Cyndi Schlosser, Facility Manager, about the pool and how it operates.
The pool has had different forms over the years, Schlosser said "the original Borden Park Pool was a dugout and became a concrete pool in 1932." She added that it was "community and public interest" that began the natural swimming pool project. The new facilities cost $14.4 million.
Schlosser explained that "natural swimming pools are non-chemically treated, [...] instead we utilize rocks, granite, sedimentation areas and plants to filter the water."
Water from the Natural Swimming Pool and Children's Pool pass through a three-stage filtration process, a fine particle filter, a Neptune gravel filter, and a hydrobotanic pool and reed bed. From there it passes through a UV filter before being pumped back into the two pools.
"Even the products that are used to clean the facility are environmentally friendly," Schlosser said. She added that "everyone who comes here has to have phosphate-free sunscreen, and anything that is utilized inside the facility is phosphate-free."
Being that this pool is so particular in what can and can't enter the water the pre-swim routine is a little stricter. "We ensure that everybody has a head to toe soaking shower every single time that they go into the pool," Schlosser said. This means if you exit the water, for whatever reason, you must take another shower before entering.
Borden Pool is not as warm as other public parks, "to reduce the transfer of biological contaminant pathogens, the pool is kept at a cooler temperature, 22°C to 23°C, while most traditional pools are around 28°C to 29°C."
Schlosser said the pool "will get additional heat from the sun, though when it around 29°C, in the water, we will have to check to ensure that it is safe for individuals."
Pool operating hours are slightly offset from regular pool hours, Borden Natural Swimming Pool is open "from 12-8 PM to take advantage of the warm sun," Schlosser said. Entry is free for the entire season, which runs through Labour Day Weekend.