This is what the public siwmming pool of the future might look like, 100% natural, no chemicals, only plants and crystal clear water. Natural swimming pools are gaining popularity amongst private owners but also municipalities, such as the recent eco-pool “Beaune Côté Plage” in France. It uses the natural self-purifying system of plants and micro-organisms to sustain clean, clear and healthy water.
It is a closed-loop with no need to change the water every day. It is first filtered by the plants and than purified by flowing through seperate regeneration ponds before being reinjected into the pool.
Underneath the pool are 10 kilometres of pipes that are inspected several times a day
Damien Cordelois, technician, Beaune Côté Plage:
“We have four pumps that allow us to transfer the water 24 hours a day. Within 12 hours we recycle the complete volume of the pools.”
The system has a few drawbacks. Water quality is analysed four times a week to make sure the plants are doing their job. The ground still has to be brushed on a daily basis. Pool visitors have to shower before every dip and are advised to not use sun lotion to keep the water as pristine as possible.
Still, new eco-pools are popping up, sometimes in rather unexpected locations, such as King’s Cross Pond Club in the heart of London (part art installation, part leisure project).
The part art installation, part leisure project is a 400m2 natural pool that can host up to 160 guests per day. Plants and a similar filter system keep the water clean and at a maximum temperature of 25 degrees. It is the UK’s first-ever outdoor man-made fresh water public bathing pond. France has about a dozen, Germany about 100. Most of them can’t open longer than 2 months in the summer.
Which brings us back to France, into Christophe Lucien’s backyard. He has created his own natural paradise which is usable up to 7 months a year. And he says it takes him less time and money than a regular pool. But you do need green fingers.
Christophe Lucien, owner of a natural swimming pond:
“At the end of March, we do a radical cut-back. This is all we have to do with the plants. For the pool, I vacuum once a month from April to October.”
The cost of a private pool? Between 30 and 80 000 euros.