Bioslimes a Growing Problem

Sunday, April 24th, 1994

Pool stores need to give you better advice.

In the past few years, the Northeastern United States has been experiencing an epidemic of bioslime growths in swimming pools. The National Pool Water Labs, led by the University of Calgary, have been rushing to find solutions.

The best method of preventing bioslime growths is to take care of your pool the way we (in our “Pool Tips”) and the National Water Labs (in their Pool Guide books) have always advised. However, we know that most people are not following all of our directions.

Bioslimes are bacterial and fungal growths that look like algae, but do not need sunlight in order to grow. They are most commonly found in catheters (in hospitals) and oil wells. Now, they are found in the pipes, hoses and filters of swimming pools.

Hospitals can throw catheters away before they become infected. Oil companies use an “oil pig” to scrape the inside of the pipe. However, there are no specific swimming pool chemicals that kill bioslimes and based on the current costs to get EPA approval for new chemicals, there will be no new products in the swimming pool industry for a long time.

Pink Slime and Clear Slime are found mostly in chlorine and bromine based pools; in the lines and filter. Water mold (a gray or white growth that looks like shredded tissue paper) usually starts in the filter, but spreads to the pool. Water mold is pretty rare, but seems to be equally likely in chlorine, bromine and biguanide pools.

Last year, our service people found Pink Slime in lots of filters where the pool owner had no idea they had a problem! If you do have a bioslime problem, or if you think you do, call or come in for our “Pool Tips” on bioslime. We also have a new experimental chemical treatment that has been very effective in some tests done in New York last year.

If you don’t want to get it, be absolutely sure that you keep your algaecide levels up, shock regularly with the right amount of shock (don’t use potassium monopersulfate), keep your calcium level normal to high, use a good quaternary algaecide based winterizing kit, and use a good filter cleaner at least once a year. The filter cleaner may be the most important factor.

We have always advised these things, but we haven’t always argued with people who didn’t really listen. Trust us. It’s worth listening.

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