UMD RecWell received a grant to support the installation of a sphagnum moss swimming pool water treatment system for the two indoor pools. This moss-based water treatment system is a patented innovation with proven results - they keep swimming pools clean while using fewer chemicals and reducing water consumption. The project involves installing a series of chambers housing sphagnum moss that will work alongside state-mandated chemical systems. Water filters through the chambers of moss and then into the swimming pools main filtration and chemical treatment system. The moss inhibits the growth of micro-organisms such as bacteria and algae, allowing the facility to dramatically reduce need for chlorine, muriatic acid, algaecide and other harsh chemicals that balance pool water. As a result, the chemical load going to the sanitary sewer system will also be decreased and, in turn, will lessen the amount of chemical and energy used to treat the water before it goes back into the environment.
This system will also reduce water consumption. In a typical pool operation, filter components become “dirty” or saturated with bacteria, algae and biofilm. The process of backwashing cleans the filter by reversing the flow of water through the filter and sending water to waste. Because filters are not as “dirty” with the moss system, the need for backwashing the pools and sending water to waste is reduced. The new system reduces chemical use by 40 percent and water consumption by 75 percent. After moss expenses, this new water treatment system will save $6,663 per year. Campus Recreation Services is investing savings into additional sustainability projects, including expansion of the moss-based water treatment system to the outdoor pools.