Don Shelby, of WCCO TV and radio, will interview CWS’ Dr. David Knighton TODAY – slated for 1:10-1:30 pm Central Time. Tune in locally on AM830 or online at www.wccoradio.com and select the LISTEN LIVE link. Participate in a live discussion on Twitter — #poolmoss
Great New York Times Article:
As its license plates proclaim, Minnesota is the Land of 10,000 Lakes.
Now a Minneapolis-area company says it has figured out the secret to the state’s famously crystalline watering holes: moss.
Specifically, species of Sphagnum moss that the start-up, Creative Water Solutions, envisions will keep tens of thousands of swimming pools clean while drastically reducing the use of chlorine and other harsh chemicals.
SAINT PAUL — Mayor Chris Coleman, Creative Water Solutions, LLC President and CEO David Knighton, MD, and Parks and Recreation Director Mike Hahm will unveil preliminary results of the nation’s first public-pool sphagnum moss-based water treatment system installation at 11a on August 17 at Highland Park Aquatic Center (see link for more about this pool). The pilot project was undertaken with the innovative Minnesota-based company, which has already demonstrated the moss-based system’s effectiveness in residential pools and spas (PoolNaturally and SpaNaturally, respectively).
“It’s a completely different pool! My eyes and the kids’ eyes didn’t get red, the water didn’t smell of chlorine and it was a lot softer feeling in general,” said 19-year-old Mary Schmidt, a regular weekly visitor to the pool as a summer nanny. “I love it!”
To see the full media release, please visit this link.
My name is Allan Schwartz and I have been working in the pool and spa industry for the past five plus years. The majority of this time has been spent focused on the residential part of this channel with Creative Water Solutions.Watch movie online The Transporter Refueled (2015)
Eau de Chlorine?
Late this April, I was out to dinner with some close friends, Michael and Suzie S. We were talking about working out at the Minneapolis Jewish Community Center where both of our families belong.
“Chlorine is my perfume” – this isn’t how it has to be for swimmers!
Michael was talking about how much he enjoys swimming now that he can’t run anymore because of his failing knees. He goes multiple times per week. Suzie stated at that point that she can always tell the days he has been swimming because in spite of showering after his swim, he still smells like chlorine and she doesn’t like to be around him.
Michael then asked me “why don’t you talk to the JCC about using your PoolNaturally® system for their pools”. Michael reminded me about the positive feedback I have been telling him about from our residential pool and spa customers. As it turns out, my company had been talking about beginning to expand into the commercial pool and spa segment of this industry.
A Natural Partnership
The JCC was very interested and were an excellent candidate because they have six different types of water bodies. They have a men’s and women’s spa, an indoor and outdoor wading pool, as well as large indoor and outdoor pools. The JCC started in May with their men’s spa which was the most troublesome area. Then the outdoor wading and swimming pools were added. Almost immediately, the bathers were approaching the lifeguards to inquire about what they were doing differently with the water. The changes were dramatic. Becky, the lifeguard supervisor recently commented on how much more enjoyable the pool water is considering how much of their working day is spent in the water.
Jon S, the Certified Pool Operator and maintenance supervisor, told me that while he was originally very excited to try our PoolNaturally® and SpaNaturally® systems. If he hadn’t been so involved with the changes he wouldn’t have believed them. The results have exceeded his expectations. Ironically, because of mechanical issues with the indoor lap pool, it will be the last pool to go on our PoolNaturally system. Michael S, who suggested the whole idea, swims in the indoor pool and has been anxiously waiting to swim and not smell like he is using chlorine as an after shave.
Last week we talked about organic contamination, the microscopic colony of bacteria that lives where water, bacteria and any surface meet. Scientists who study bacteria in the laboratory have known about organic contamination for 10-15 years. It has taken that long for the laboratory bench research to impact our daily lives and organic contamination impacts just about everything. Think about it: combine water, a surface and bacteria and you have instant organic contamination.
Organic contamination: A Slime City
A recent article in the July/August 2009 issue of Discover by Wendy Orent called “Slime City” talked about organic contamination and its impact on medicine and implanted medical devices. She did a great job describing what is known about organic contamination and how it causes serious diseases and problems in the body. View the article.
The same organic contamination that coats medical devices, your teeth, or an infected bone or wound covers every surface of your pool or spa. All disinfectants such as chlorine, bromine, ozone, cooper or silver are effective killers of bacteria that swim in the water. Unfortunately, that’s only 1-2% of the bacteria that populate a pool or spa. The rest are safely protected from the disinfectants by organic contamination.
The colony in organic contamination is static. It is alive just like a city. The bacteria move, send off microscopic streamers of organic contamination containing bacteria to settle on other surfaces, send off microscopic balls of organic contamination to roll along the surface to start a new colony, and provide a nursery for bacteria to multiply and replace those that die off.
A Slime City in your pool or spa?
You see the effects of the organic contamination streamers when your spa forms foam on the surface of the water. organic contamination free water in a spa doesn’t foam. The air bubbles injected into the water from the jets come to the surface and pop. organic contamination in pools and spas cause the rings and scale on the pool sides. It also causes cloudy water.
Recently, the scientists at the Center for Biofilm Engineering at Montana State University (http://www.erc.montana.edu/) discovered that biofilm causes corrosion of metals. At the interface of the metal surface and the biofilm the pH is around 1 and there is a small electrical current produced by the bacteria. The combination can cause electrolysis of almost all metals.
Think of your spa or pool’s heater cores, motors, seals and metal fittings. The microscopic organic contamination is slowly eating the metal causing mechanical failures that are costly to replace.
The take home message is that organic contamination is a major contributor and cause of most problems in pools and spas. So, how do you get rid of it? Tune in next week for more.
Where were you when the first human foot made an imprint on the moon 40 years ago?
I was in Ferkessedougou, Ivory Coast working at a mission station for the summer between my sophomore and junior year of college. I spent part of my time doing maintenance and the other helping with surgery. I remember listening to the short wave radio as we heard Voice of America describe the landing. It was night and there was a bright African full moon. After they landed I went outside and looked at the moon marveling at the advances in technology that allowed that human footprint on the lunar surface.
The next morning I excitedly told my co-worker, in my broken French, what happened the night before. He asked me “How long did it take them to get there?” “Three days was my answer.” He thought a while and then said, “The moon is as far away as Buoake.” Buoake is a three-day walk from the mission station.
His frame of reference was completely different than mine and in a way both were accurate.
A Different Understanding
That experience is very similar to what is happening in the understanding of how bacteria live in pools and spas. The old, accepted model says that bacteria like to swim and remain suspended in the water. We now know that 99% of bacteria in water swim to the nearest surface, attach themselves, and set up a microscopic colony that is protected by a layer of sticky protein and sugar molecules we call organic contamination.
The organic contamination protects the bacteria from chlorine or other chemicals put into the pool to control bacteria. In fact it absorbs chlorine, bromine or ozone so a lot has to be added to the pool to maintain proper levels. As we study organic contamination in our laboratory and more fully understand how it affects pools, spas and any other system where water, bacteria and a surface are present, we are convinced that most of the water problems plaguing the recreational water experience are due to organic contamination.
The bad news is that bacteria protect themselves with organic contamination and that all the chlorine, bromine, ozone, cooper, silver, UV light or other systems that only affect bacteria suspended in water are totally ineffective against bacteria protected with organic contamination. The good news is that we are discovering that the sphagnum moss in SpaNaturally® and PoolNaturally® may be nature’s answer to controlling organic contamination.
While this research may not compare with the accomplishment of Apollo 11, in the future we’ll know that cleaner, safer water with fewer chemicals was a dream fulfilled through the scientific effort of hundreds of scientists who transformed our understanding of how bacteria live and protect themselves.
As part of their 50th ‘Golden Anniversary’ of service to the international water treatment industry, Water Conditioning and Purification magazine announced its first annual Top 50 Awards. Dr. Knighton, Co-founder and President of Creative Water Solutions, LLC was named along with 49 other industry leaders, for his contribution that “is revolutionizing water clarity/quality best practices with Sphagnum moss to condition water, reduce chemicals and mitigate organic contamination accumulation.”
Welcome to the first of hopefully many conversations about all things water. I am Dr. David Knighton one of the founders and President of Creative Water Solutions LLC. Along with Vance Fiegel (my business and research partner for 25 years) we started Creative Water Solutions to bring the miracle of Sphagnum moss to the world. (handful of moss photo)
How did this all get started? That’s a question I get asked daily when people realize that my background is in Vascular Surgery, Cellular Biology and Wound Healing. The answer is a fascinating story of serendipity. I was returning from a trip to Germany. Somewhere over Nova Scotia I ran out of reading material and paper work. I got bored and asked the flight attendant for anything to read. She brought back Atlantic Monthly, People Magazine and Golf Digest. I golf poorly but enjoy the process and the outdoors. I usually don’t read People Magazine unless I’m waiting in a doctor’s office so I chose Atlantic Monthly.
Moss for Treating Wounds
In that issue there was a single page article about the use of Sphagnum moss in WWI to treat battle wounds. The Germans and the English found that if they packed their soldiers wounds in a special species of Sphagnum Moss that they survived in higher numbers than if they packed the wounds in cotton. The author postulated that the effect was due to the amazing absorbency of the moss. Being an expert in wound healing, a trauma surgeon, and knowledgeable about wounds and infection, I postulated that this moss must have an effect on bacterial growth.