Wednesday, October 18, 2017

A Pool on the Plus Side

May 1, 2017 by · Leave a Comment 

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Summer and public pools seem to go hand in hand. Yet there’s a worrisome thing about public pools — the high levels of chlorine used to kill as many germs as possible. So the creators of + POOL came up with an idea to avoid immersing people in chemicals: they can swim in a floating pool that’s in a river so the river does all the filtration naturally.

From concept to recreational activity is a long-distance swim for +POOL, who envisions the launch of the first pool in New York City’s East River in 2020. Kara Meyer, deputy director of + Pool, shared the history of the project. “The filtration system was tested in 2014 through a project called Float Lab that was installed in the Hudson River. We built a test tank, a sort of science lab version of the pool in the river that tested a variety of combinations of filtration materials to see what worked in real river conditions. After several months, we were able to identify a combination of materials that removed bacteria count completely from the testing tank. We’ve since put the filtration package concept into a patent application and are now working towards the production of a fully functioning prototype.”

Meyer joined the + POOL team in 2015. She says the nonprofit is a similar business model to Friends of the High Line in New York City. “It helps give + POOL, a project conceived by four friends on a lark, the support it needs and works to educate the public on the issues affecting our water quality,” she adds.


Renderings of + POOL designed by Family & Playlab, courtesy Friends of + POOL

The pool will meet all of the area’s needs, as there will be kids, lounging, sports, and lap pools, interlocked into an instantly recognizable plus-sign pattern. Financing the pool will be a community, organizational, or corporate effort; people, groups, and companies will fund the pool by buying pool tiles with their names on it.

“We are sponsored by a variety of amazing companies interested in swimming in the river. We’ve estimated that there will be about 70,000 tiles in the pool and if we sold every tile, we’d have the estimated construction budget,” Meyer shares. “How beautiful would that be?”

The pressing concern of the moment is the same one that describes every New York City real estate deal — location. Per Meyer, “We are trying to identify a site that the city will allow us to build. There is a variety of stakeholders involved and it’s different for every potential site. We’ve identified the sites that are technically feasible, so now it’s about setting up the right kind of partnership. It’s not really up to us anymore.”

The needs of swimmers and the availability of rivers make + POOL appealing to cities and green organizations around the world. “Many cities have reached out to us and we have advised urban swim projects around the world — from Berlin, to London, to Paris, and many more,” advises Meyer.

The + POOL website allows visitors to see the phases of the project’s development. Follow along or get involved here:

By Michael Griffin

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is a native New Yorker who has many fond memories of going deep-sea fishing in his youth. He lives near Long Island with his wife, son, and cat (who is sitting in his lap as he types this).

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