Originally published August 26 2015
Natural pools without chlorine coming to America
by Ethan A. Huff, staff writer
(NaturalNews) The nation's first all-natural, chlorine-free public swimming pool filtered by rocks, plants and other natural features recently opened in Minneapolis, Minnesota, home to America's number-one parks and recreation system, as rated by the Trust for Public Land for the third year in a row.
Following the lead of Europe, which currently brags some 20,000 natural pools, the Webber Natural Swimming Pool, located at 4330 Webber Parkway in Minneapolis, sets a new standard for chemical-free wading, diving and lap swimming that those behind its development hope will spread to other towns and cities across the U.S.
Popular in countries such as Austria and Germany since the 1980s, natural swimming pools take advantage of various rock and plant media that naturally filter out harmful bacteria without the need for chlorine, bromine and the many other damaging chemicals commonly added to public swimming pools.
Excessive regulations throughout the U.S. have made it difficult for parks and recreation departments to utilize this natural cleansing method in public swimming pools – until now. Thanks to the forward-thinking minds behind Minneapolis' Webber Natural Swimming Pool, Americans now have the chance to experience what Europeans and others have experienced for decades – clean, chemical-free water.
After four years of determination and $6 million later, the Webber Natural Swimming Pool is a reality, featuring a shallow, upper wading pool that descends into a deeper, lower wading pool. Webber also features a jumping platform for diving, as well as a lap swimming area.
Check out the following series of photos showing the progress of the pool's construction, courtesy of the Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board.
Pool chemicals like chlorine and bromine send thousands of children to the emergency room every year That large, plant-filled body of water you see in the second photo is the pool's "regeneration basin," which is filled with more than 7,000 different aquatic plant species rooted in gravel and limestone. These plants feed on the bacteria that spill over from the pool, sending whatever's leftover into the rocks below, which filter out the rest.
Much like the amazing Barton Springs Pool in Austin, Texas, Webber Pool resembles a lake more than it does a traditional pool. But don't be fooled: It's cleaner and more sanitary than any chlorine-tainted pool, and even houses live turtles, frogs and algae which, believe it or not, help keep the water even cleaner.
As far as chlorine, it's not as safe as you've probably been told it is. As many as 5,000 children and teenagers, it turns out, are sent to the emergency room every year due to chlorine poisoning, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). There's a better way, and Minneapolis is leading the way.
"We have a responsibility to be good stewards of public land and public water," stated Jayne Miller, Superintendent of the Minneapolis Parks and Recreation Board, to Upworthy about the importance of supporting natural pools as opposed to chlorinated ones. "It's consistent with our mission."
Concerning the hurdles and obstacles that had to be overcome in order to make Webber Pool a reality, Miller added that when "you do something new and innovative like this, there are risks. ... But we're getting a ton of coverage on this nationally, and a lot of people are paying attention. I suspect this will be the beginning of many more natural pools in the U.S."
To learn more about Webber Natural Swimming Pool, visit MinneapolisParks.org.
Also, be sure to let your own parks and recreation department know that you want natural swimming pools installed so you and your family can enjoy clean, chemical-free swimming.
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