Paradise Pools (Brantford, ON)

Spring Pool Care

Released: June 11th, 2019

It’s Pollen Time by Paul Parsons

Every spring and throughout summer, most pool owners can expect a battle with a most imposing enemy; pollen! It comes from the sky (well, really from trees and plants), seemingly without warning. The next thing you know, everything (including the family pet) is covered in a yellow, dust-like film.

Patio furniture, the BBQ, the deck, the solar blanket and the pool water. Nothing escapes an even coating of pollen. Allergy sufferers dread the annual pollen onslaught. This year, with our late, cold winter, the 'pollen vortex' (a name coined to give it a more dramatic feel, like a Stephen King horror movie) will occur later than normal but is still expected to be just as intense. As a matter of fact, scientists warn that Climate Change is a major cause of the worsening pollen issues we are experiencing year after year. That's pollen for ya! It's actually nature's way of reproducing in the plant world. It is a fine to coarse powder and many types travel simply by wind. As wind is not a very accurate transportation method (like a Rob Kamstra golf shot), huge quantities must be produced and released. The pollen grains of pines, firs and spruces are actually ‘winged’ to help their flight. It is wind-borne pollen that is most problematic to swimming pools.

Pollen affects pools in 3 major ways (not counting the aesthetic problems it creates around the pool):

1) Chlorine Demand. Large quantities of pollen in swimming pool water can create a tremendous chlorine demand. Most types of pollen have a hard outer shell that will be difficult to break down through the ongoing oxidative effects of chlorine or bromine. As chlorine or bromine is non-selective, it will continue to attack pollen, using itself up in the process, creating the high demand in the water. During periods of high pollen counts, increase chlorine residuals in water and shock more frequently to compensate. Dazzle Amaze Plus, Ultra Shock and Energy are highly useful for this. Dazzle Clear Rebound is also an amazing friend to a pool with a pollen problem. Digesting pollen saves chlorine and the general cleaning often required (refer to #3). I recommend any weekly serviced pools get an extra Clear Rebound application during periods of high pollen release as it will help in so many ways (reduce chlorine demand, clear the water, clean the surfaces, reduced ongoing build-up in the filter, etc.). The new Jack’s Magic Super Pacs (JMS04910) are also an excellent pollen destroyer and general pool water and pool surface cleaner. They are very easy to use in their water soluble packaging! Just toss one in when needed and let them do their thing.

2) Pollen means phosphorous. One of the minerals in highest concentration in most species of pollen is phosphorous. High concentrations of pollen in pool water will eventually be broken down and the contents released to the water. As we know, phosphorous content in water fuels plant growth (algae) just as fertilizer does when spread on a lawn or plants. This is a bad combination when viewed with point #1 - chlorine demand. Increasing phosphate levels with a decreasing or zero chlorine residual is a sure sign of an oncoming algae infestation (just check the Risk of Algae Meter on your AquaAce printout). When pollen is plaguing a pool, test phosphate levels regularly and use Prep Cleanse, Phos Cleanse Plus and Pure WOW Assure to keep the level at near zero. If a phosphate management program is not being employed, increase the dosage of a quality preventative algicide like Algae Resist 50 (or Algae Clear 60 if the pool is not suitable for Algae Resist 50).

3) Compromised Filtration. Pollen, when mixed with water, can form a paste-like substance that sticks and coats surfaces. Just check out a solar blanket that has covered a pool during a pollen outbreak and you'll see a yellowish-coloured film that has a tendency to coat and not release freely. You may also see it around the waterline (remember Pool & Patio Cleanse or raise the water level and use a bit more Pure WOW Assure, Clear Rebound or Jack’s Magic Super Pacs). Rub some between your fingers and you'll see the characteristics that I'm talking about. Imagine this inside the pool filter as a properly functioning skimmer will transport a large quantity of pollen through the filtration system. When pollen is at its worst, don't hesitate to recommend a Rapid Action Filter Cleanse treatment. One of the primary reasons we developed the ‘Rapid Action’ formula was to make it quicker and easier to do an effective filter cleaning. In addition to more frequent and effective filter cleaning, use of 'screening' water clarifiers like Dazzle Filter Enhance and Clarifying Tabs (sand filters only) will help catch pollen moving through the filter more effectively than the filter media alone. This reduces chlorine demand (#1) and phosphorous (#2) when able to filter out efficiently and quickly.

Remember, pollen is an issue that is often overlooked in typical pool water maintenance situations. However, it can affect a pool in a variety of ways and cause havoc. Be proactive and take some additional precautions. Your customers will appreciate it!