published Saturday, April 10th, 2010

Downtown hotel DoubleTree featuring saltwater pool as part of green push

by Tamara Best
Audio clip

Bill Mish

* What: Saltwater pool

* Company: DoubleTree Hotel on Chestnut Street in downtown Chattanooga

* How is it green: Converting the pool to saltwater cuts down on having to dump shock (added chlorine used to rid water of organic compounds that irritate the skin) and other chemicals into the pool.

Saltwater vs. chlorinated pool

* Saltwater pools have lower chlorine levels.

* Chlorine pools need algaecides to kill algae and baking soda while saltwater pools don't, according to

* Saltwater helps eliminate irritation on skin through the use of less chemicals.

* When: October 2009

* Why do it this way? "It works well from a healthy perspective. When you go into a pool area, your eyes burn some when there is chlorine, it irritates the skin some. This doesn't," said DoubleTree General Manager Bill Mish said.

* Plans for expanding in the future: "We're coming up with things every day. Everyd ay we challenge something, correct it and fix it. It's a way of thinking as opposed to just accepting the norm."

* Any suggestions for others considering green initiatives? Track all your successes, especially when it comes to utility cost to measure progress, Mr. Mish said.

* Is this an essential part of the business and why? "Sustainability is a new way of doing business -- it's a business model," he said, especially in a lean economy. "There's so much opportunity out there to cut your costs and do something good for the environment."

  • photo
    Staff photo by Matt Fields-Johnson/Chattanooga Times Free Press Part of the recycleing and Green initiatives at the Doubletree Hotel include a pool treatment method that uses salt instead of chlorine so that harsh chemicals are not introduced into the sewer systems.
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whatsthefuss said...

I am amazed that people think this method of treating pool water is just like swimming in the ocean. The piece of equipment that allows this system to work is called a CHLORINE GENERATOR. It does just that. Along with this method of treating pool water comes the same challanges as using a straight chlorination method of sanitation. Changes in temperature,rainfall,bathing load of the pool along with the bad habits of some that decide the pool is similar to a toilet. With these changes that occur daily, you must use a shock product to maintain the pool water. Can anyone guess what these shock products contain??? It sounds very progressive and elite to have a SALT WATER POOL. What you really have is a device that generates chlorine that is expensive and requires attention because of the nature of the product it produces. CHLORINE. It is very corrosive. In a very controlled environment it would eliminate the taste and irritation of chlorine added in bulk amounts and maintain a perfect ph level of the water. In a swimming pool it just is not realistic. Remember, You can fool some of the people some of the time!!! The rest of us use CHLORINE!!!

April 10, 2010 at 9:45 a.m.
dt4c said...

I've got news for you whatsthefuss, I have had a salinator on my pool for 7 years and I have added a shock product ONCE. This method is definitely progressive and the way to go. It actually requires very little maintenance. I have a 28X45 free form pool and use less than $300 in chemicals (salt and occasionally algicide) per year. I think it is a smart move both environmentally and fiscally.

April 10, 2010 at 8:42 p.m.
whatsthefuss said...

dt4c, Chlorine generators or as you prefer, salinators have been around for 20 years. Saltwater pools do have disadvantages! Pools that use chlorine tablets (tri chlor), and pools that use salt (sodium chloride) are very similar. The first thing to understand is that both use chlorine. Both systems require sodium bicarbonate, calcium chloride, and muriatic acid to make chemistry adjustments. Salt chlorine systems require the addition of stabilizer (cyanuric acid) and salt which tablet pools do not. Stabilizer holds chlorine in the water. Chlorine tablets have this chemical in them already. The average pool in a sub-tropical environment, lets say South Florida (18,000 gallons) uses 400 pounds of salt and 60 pounds of stabilizer a year. This is a pool that is used and year round. These chemicals again, are not required in a tablet pool. Salt systems have a metal cell and an electronic control panel that cost about $1,000. The cell on average lasts for three years and costs $350 to replace. $1,350 would pay for all of your pool chemicals for an average pool for 10 years. Does anyone have a water fall? Salt builds up on any surface that gets wet and then dries just like going to a mild beach. The chemical to keep the salt from building (jacks magic) runs 21 dollars a month. A pool retailer would hope that all pools convert to salt, because they don't make any money on chlorine tablets. The prices have been consistent for 20 years. Salt and stabilizer though can be priced at their discretion because mass merchants don't carry them. Selling the cell is also great: Whereas a $5-chlorine tablet floater will last for ten years, the cell only lasts for three.

Fluctuations in PH cause eye irritation not chlorine which you have in your salt pool any way. I'm not saying your method of chlorination is bad. In your case you seem to be very pleased with it. If my comment of elite was offensive I apologize. 28x45 is not a pool. It's a lake. I'm sure you can afford what you like and that is the American way. My point to my previous comment is, I don't see a green factor to the hotel's change except the DOLLARS they have and will spend. Maintaining a perfect pool is a refined chemical art. When done right there is not a more beautiful sight!!!

April 11, 2010 at 10:16 a.m.
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