BY MARCO PERRELLA
Maybe it was in the pre wiring. When you are born a Pisces, there are certain things you don’t really control. One being how water, good old H2O would be such a huge part of your life. There is a longing to we live where there’s white sand, clear warm water, lots of sun and is so close that it is indulged in everyday. Till then, we find ways to always be near or in it. We also continue to introduce its magic to friends and clients.
We all have a common thread or theme in what we do. Design or build around or with water. “ We’d like a pool” is our favorite sentence to hear! Our brains instantly start running with the thought of what can we create for these folks. What’s the budget? What would you like around it? How will you use it? All our typical design questions that start grinding the creative gears. The anticipation of each sentence the client speaks of what their hopes and expectations are. What kind of parameters will be on me. What have they been exposed to or seen? In the box or out of the box clients? On and on…. I know each new client meeting for me always starts with the curiousity and anxiety and a sense of excitement of where will we be going with this.
What I discovered this year is how easy it had been to forget about the most important element of what we do. The Water. Without it, there is no pool, no soothing cool down, no sound of splashing from people within or a water feature. Yes, there can still be cool things and a nice environment but no water? What fun is that? I will be the first to admit, that for water being the most vital part of what I do, I have always taken it for granted. Maybe its my extensives credentials. At a young single digit age, one of my chores was testing the pool weekly and vacuuming it. My folks still live where I grew up and when their pool was built, the builder said this pool is as big as the one at the Holiday Inn up north. Wow. Its 18’ by 38’, 9 ft deep to 3.5’ with the sweet wedding cake stairs in the corner. But the greatest diving board you could get! . Things surehave changed. One skimmer as close to the equipment as possible, two returns at opposite corners about 2” below the tile line. Hydraulic masterpiece. I soon memorized five drops of solution #1. Wait, I need to go look at the card. One of #4 five of #2. Grab a gallon of chlorine and walk the perimeter. Suck up the splash burns and don’t fret the spots on your socks and clothes. That’s all I have for you in the credential resume. Really. I often hear of the maintenance backgrounds or even maintenance divisions of so many of us in the industry. Not here. There might be a discussion going on regarding water treatment and its French to me. I’ve never lost sleep over this. It has been easy to take a build it and pass it along attitude. Then there have been times when I really did think, “ you need to take the time to learn this” but they passed. Bandwidth concerns.
If it had not been for meeting so many great people from around the country as part of Tributary Revelation, I would have thought that we were all playing on the same field. Having spent almost almost 90% of my life in California, I’m learning I better not cry out loud for the 3-4 months of minor rains we might have. Humidity? No. Struggle to get keep our pools at 80 degress or so in the summer, yes. Freezing winters? Na. Now you see how I’ve been able to fly under the radar not knowing much about water chemistry? Pretty mild conditions.
When we started focusing more on pools and building them, the salt rage had hit and that was the first thing a client would ask for. Then we started to see some of the side effects. Before long we started pointing clients towards UV and that’s where we settled in. Still in cruise control, no push to learn more.
About five or so years ago we were asked to design a “studio” for the famous underwater photographer Howard Schatz. This “studio” was a pool with portals for photography lights, deep for full submerged shoots and most important of all a filtration sanitation system that could keep the water treated throughout a full day shoot with models getting in and out and possible turbidity. I quickly started looking at the “next level” of sanitation and ozone. Degas bubbles and anything that the professional camera equipment could pickup was of concern. The water movement had to be minimized but turned over at a much higher rate than typical. We had just started researching when the client decided to not move west and everything halted. Ozone education halted with it.
Then I met Harold…… LSI, ORP, PH. I thought these were college name abbreviations. Harold stopped in at my home and showed me the badass Orenda App. I should have videoed him rolling through it and giving a tutorial on something that is second nature to him so I could get past level one but I was too excited that finally my pool water was going to get some attention at a bit higher level than my childhood memories. It really started to hit me what a loose end it was not giving the water the attention it deserved. Before long Harold also introduced me to Beth Hamil which rolled right into the Tributary Revelation event in Denver and the excitement that yes, finally some much needed education on water treatment was going to go down. I left there excited about what I was starting to learn about ozone and UFB ( ultrafine bubbles ).
Part of the excitement was the notion of reducing the chemical needs of the water. Trying to live healthier has meant watching what you put into your body so woudn’t what touches your body fall under that as well? We soon had both a Microplasma Ozone system and Aquafusion UFB system on the way. Right at the same time the shut down began. I will never say that was a blessing but it certainly gave me loads of extra time to dig deeper into this higher level of water treatment.
This was my first exposure to an Ozonated pool besides seeing a few on a tour of facllities with Exceptional Water Systems a year or so ago. I’ve always looked at well maintained pools and and thought “looks good”. Was I in for an awakening as our pool water took a leap in clarity that was so noticeable it became mesmerizing at times as the morning light hit it in its stillness and almost became a magnifying glass. I then recalled seeing the swim school water in Arizona and commenting how I could tell which way the light screws were turned. There is no way to really describe the clarity difference other than its so noticeably different from what we are all used to that you will find yourself seeing things you never did before. The one pebble in the plaster that is a different color or shape. It is that amazing.
Many fingers during discussion pointed towards David Rockwell regarding ozone and UFB. He has been an ozone proponent for a long time.I gave him a call and remember him saying how everyday he looks forward to getting home and just getting in the water at his own pool which has both systems. I didn’t take that too seriously till I started feeling the same thing. Besides the clarity the feel and taste are the other side of the experience that everybody must at least try.
I could go on and on about the dramatic change these systems have created but everybody should check it out first hand. During this whole adventure the one thing that kept running through my mind was how much time, effort and money we commit to the “pretty” parts of the pools. The aesthetics. I will put my hand up as having not had that same commitment towards the one element that is our reason for being. The water. Thus the Full Circle. A new commitment has been made to share this better water experience option with all clients. To date there has been no impasse as we have approached all current projects and shared what’s possible. We have yet to hear a no thanks. This has been a huge step in a new direction that is a win win for all. LEAD.