Guest Column - January 2010
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Aquatics

Updated Aquatics
Technology Helps Improve Operations

By Barry Gertz


Additional features of RMF technology that improve efficiency are reduced electricity usage and saving on construction costs. Regenerative media filters operate at a lower head (TDH) compared to traditional sand filters, saving motor horsepower. When paired with a variable frequency drive (VFD), electrical usage may be cut up to 40 percent. The RMF mechanical footprint requires less than one quarter the space occupied by sand filters. A smaller mechanical room, smaller waste line to sewer and less labor significantly saves on construction costs.

Many community centers, YMCAs, JCCs and Kroc centers are discovering the benefits of regenerative media filters. Opened in March 2009, the aquatics facility at East Portland Community Center in Portland, Ore., became the first of its kind to achieve LEED Platinum certification, the highest level from the U.S. Green Building Council rating system. Among the "green" technologies used on the pools are regenerative media filters, VFDs on all pumps and a UV sanitation system.

Great Wolf Lodge Resorts have been using regenerative media filtration systems since 2004. According to Steve Shattuck, the resort chain's communications director, since installing regenerative media filters, the waterparks use 80 to 90 percent less water than two earlier installations that include sand filters.

Because the filtration was so efficient, management at Great Wolf Lodge Resorts noticed that the hotel portion of the resorts used twice as much water per day as the waterpark components—not something anyone would expect. As a result, Great Wolf Lodge Resorts launched Project Green Wolf, which included rewriting nearly every page of its operational procedures manuals. Regenerative media filtration systems were written in as the new standard in order to maximize recycling and reuse, as well as reducing chemical use in the waterparks.

Despite the economy, nearly two-thirds of respondents polled in the 2009 State of the Industry Report revealed plans for new or renovated facilities. Improvements and additions cannot be put off for fear of being left behind following an economic upturn. The number-one planned additional feature across the board is splash play areas. Moreover, the top concern of respondents now and over the next few years is reported to be equipment and facility maintenance.

These factors combine to make it more necessary than ever for facilities to install the most efficient systems for their money. The environmental rules will get stricter, the bather loads will increase and the budgets will remain tight. However, with up-to-date technologies in place, facilities can reduce energy consumption, run "greener," attract more swimmers and improve the bottom line.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Barry Gertz is a second-generation president of Neptune-Benson, based in Coventry, R.I. Founded in 1956, Neptune-Benson has become a recognized leader in the design and manufacture of aquatic filtration systems. Gertz has over 30 years of experience in the aquatics industry and is a member of the WWA Hall of Fame. He has led Neptune-Benson's commitment to "Going Green" with their award-winning Defender filter. For more information, visit www.neptune-benson.com.