Zeoclere - The Magic Ingredient
Running a modern community leisure pool can be a precarious balancing act. First and foremost you have to keep the customers happy and eagerly returning through the doors for regular repeat visits. That means sustaining the highest standards and always delivering the goods on both water quality and customer care.
Of course, you have to achieve this without straying outside increasingly challenging budgets. At the same time, you will have to reach hard-hitting efficiency targets such as reducing water consumption and improving energy efficiency.
If you are looking for examples of good practice then look no further than the senior management team at Fareham Leisure Centre in Hampshire who are consistently rated one of the top leisure pools in the country. Fareham is a flagship centre, one of 61 sites under the Sports and Leisure Management banner.
Technical and support manager at Fareham, Colin Trimmings, puts his team’s success down to a secret weapon they stumbled upon more than ten years ago when they switched from basic sand in the filters to a specialist media called Zeoclere.
“Now we don’t just use Zeoclere – we actively recommend it,” says Colin. “I would not go back to sand in our pool filters now we have seen what a difference it makes.
“We are more than happy to be associated with a product like Zeoclere, to share our experiences and happy to sing the product’s praises. It has played a huge part in Fareham’s swimming success story.”
Now consistently scoring in the top percentages of UK leisure pools, the reports were far from satisfactory back in 1995 when, struggling to cope with a bather load that was practically double what it was originally designed for, the operators were inundated with complaints from unhappy swimmers. The development of the original swimming pool into a modern leisure centre was taking its toll on the hard-pressed plant room.
“Because of the extended swimming times there was no time for recovery of the water, so by the end of the day it started to get cloudy,” Colin explains.
“Chemical use was going through the roof while backwashing increased and we were the worst leisure pool in the country for water consumption – not the sort of reputation any pool wants to have.”
By 1995 things had got so bad they needed to try something and fast. A lot of research went into finding a higher performance filter media and Colin Trimmings was advised by another commercial pool operator to switch from the original sand to Zeoclere for the training pool. The results were outstanding.
“We first switched our teaching pool to Zeoclere 30 - it is as crystal clear now as it was then and we are talking 12 years later. Three years later, we switched the main pool to Zeoclere and have not looked back.
“Not only has the water consumption been transformed, Fareham has saved money on chemical costs, energy costs and overall maintenance of £8,000 to £10,000 annually. Although Zeoclere is initially more expensive than sand, I would categorically put payback within a year,” said Colin.
Now the pool attracts at least 1,500 swimmers every week to its swim school in addition to packed schedules of thriving swimming club, disabled and other specialist users as well as well as thousands of casual swimmers. All the more remarkable than that, the two pools are still run on their original three filters and pumps – another bonus that Colin attributes to Zeoclere 30.
“Zeoclere has solved our obvious problems with water clarity and energy consumption but there are hidden benefits like extending the lifespan of our plant room which has made a huge difference to our balance sheets,” said Colin.
During the two-day Christmas shutdown, the filters on the teaching pool and main pool will have the Zeoclere media replaced for the first time in 12 years of service.
The benefits of Zeoclere 30:
No ammonia – no chloramines
No sore, red eyes
No dry skin or dry hair
No nasty, acrid smells
Reduces chemical use by up to 30%
Saves on water through reduced backwashing
Improves water quality
Improves the pool hall atmosphere