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First low-chlorine swimming pool to break ground
Flanders will break ground on its first low-chlorine swimming pool this autumn. Following several years of development and pilot projects, the new pool will be built in Antwerp.
Chlorine has long been known to be irritating to skin, eyes and lungs, with some people having to avoid chlorinated pools altogether. People with asthma can have trouble being inside a swimming complex, even if they do not enter the pool.
Chlorine has been necessary, however, to kill bacteria that could otherwise be spread to the public, such as E.coli and legionella. Former chemistry professor Patrick Lievens, however, has been working for more than a decade on a combination of water treatments that work just as well and be healthier for humans.
Through the use of an ionizer, which releases purifying minerals into the water; oxidation, which increases oxygen atoms, allowing contaminants to be more easily removed; and ultraviolent disinfection, the pool needs three to four times less chlorine than it normally would.
Any public swimming pool that wants to switch to the new system can ask for a permit. According to the former director of the swimming complex in Dilbeek, where a pilot project was carried out, changing to the new system requires an investment of about €50,000.
It costs no more to operate the new system, however, than to operate a fully chlorine system. And new pools using the system do not cost more to build.
Photo: Kurt Desplenter/BELGA