By Jim Siebert

Summary: Maintaining clear, silky swimming pool water can be a hassle, especially if you have to deal with oils and other pollutants that bathers leave behind. Luckily for pool owners, a new water conditioning technology is available that removes oil and debris from swimming pools.

Every pool owner desires clear, sparkling water as long as the maintenance time is kept to a minimum. In the past, owners have spent too much time cleaning and servicing their pools. Filters and skimmers are part of the problem because a variety of debris, suntan and body oils, and other organic materials can clog them, limiting effectiveness and making cleaning the skimmer mouth and basket difficult and time consuming.

Both the appearance and feel of the water affect a swimmer’s experience. No one wants to swim in murky or oily pool water or water that feels hard on the skin. Currently, there are many products offered to pool and spa owners that remove debris from the pool water prior to introduction into the pump and filtration system. Many of these products, however, only remove large debris, which leaves smaller debris, body oils, suntan oils and other organic materials free to float into the skimmer basket. This article will discuss a new technological development for pool skimmers, its benefit to pool maintenance and details on how it works.

Skimmer supplements
Skimmer supplements are currently being developed that do more than just remove debris from pool water. One such supplement is made of a durable nylon cover. The supplement provides maximum filter protection. Infused with a polymeric surfactant coating that attracts oils and other debris away from water, the elastic cover forms a deep pocket that provides maximum protection from oily, scummy build-up in the pool and around the filter, thereby increasing the life of the filter.

The concept for the product began 15 years ago. After the Exxon Valdez oil spill in 1989, one company’s two co-founders wanted to develop a product that would improve the clean-up of off-shore oil spills. The goal was to remove close to 100 percent of hydrocarbons with a single pass through the water.

This coating prevents the formation of micellae—sphere shaped molecular structures that form in water and constitute a colloidal particle, which are difficult to remove—thereby assisting in elimination of harmful substances from the water including oil, gas and diesel fuel. Colloidal substances consist of particles dispersed throughout another substance that are too small for resolution with an ordinary light microscope but are incapable of passing through a semi-permeable membrane. The coating’s properties force contaminants to attach to it. This allows for quick removal of contaminants from the water.

The polymeric surfactant technology instantly bonds to hydrocarbons, etc., to make them hydrophobic and viscoelastic thereby removing them permanently from the water stream. Thus, the coating is able to reduce hydrocarbon levels to less than 1 part per billion (ppb). When compared to the allowable limit of 15 parts per million (ppm) set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (USEPA) 1990 Oil Pollution Act, it provides results far better than the standard.

This coating has proven to be an effective solution for a number of industries directly related to water quality. Current applications extend beyond the pool industry and include a variety of applications within the industrial wastewater and marine industries. Power companies use coating-infused filters on stormwater pumped out of utility manholes. Commercial and recreational marine industries may soon be using it in on-board bilge water filters.1 Using the product in pool industry technology offers cutting-edge water filtration technology to pool owners. In the future, additional applications of the product may prove useful in other industries related to environmental and water quality issues.

Installation and maintenance
The elastic nylon skimmer cover is easy to install and fits over virtually all skimmer baskets. This type of skimmer supplement also works with all filter types. Simply place it over the current skimmer. If feeding chlorine tablets or sticks through the skimmer, ensure that they’re placed underneath the skimmer supplement. With normal bather load, the nylon cover will need to be replaced every two weeks.

An additional benefit to adding the surfactant coating to a pool filter is that it doesn’t create a significant differential pressure while removing unwanted oils and debris. A filter totally saturated with this coating will create only about 0.5 pounds per square inch (psi) of pressure differential, ensuring that the flow of water is never stopped and increasing the filter cycle time.

The best way to effectively ensure clear, brilliant and balanced swimming pool water is through a program approach. A pool care program consists of a series of simple steps essential to maintaining a pool. Each step is a simple, yet essential and easy task designed to correct current problems and prevent future problems. Requiring only minutes a week, pool care programs minimize the amount of time and effort that pool owners have to spend maintaining their pool water.

Skimmer supplements such as the polymeric surfactant technology detailed in this article can effectively contribute to enjoyable swimming pool water. Adding extra protection to a pool’s filtration system will cut down on pool maintenance time and provide sparkling pool water free from oil and debris.

The author wishes to thank Hal Alper and John Mansfield Sr., the founders of Mycelx Corp., of Gaines-ville, Ga., which developed the surfactant technology discussed in this article, for their assistance on this article.


  1. MYCELX Technologies Corp., website:

About the author
Jim Siebert is vice president of Lawrenceville, Ga.-based BioGuard®, a division of BioLab Inc. BioGuard is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of pool and spa chemicals. The company’s line of swimming pool and spa products includes Skim-Mor, a skimmer cover infused with the proprietary Mycelx coating technology. BioGuard retailers offer swimming pool and spa sanitizers, oxidizers, balancers, algaecides, winterizers and other specialty products for residential, service and commercial markets. Siebert can be reached at (800) 859-7946 ext. 2.



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