2019.05.17 - Engineering miracles in the background
Engineering miracles in the background
We wouldn’t even believe how hard it is to operate swimming pools and baths. While visitors bath, ride the slides and relax in the pools, a serious, complicated technical apparatus makes it possible for the whole system to operate. Let’s see the problems engineers had to face, so that we and our children can enjoy the pools without any problems.
The designing of baths and fountains found in aristocratic parks and their water supplying was a huge challenge for the engineers of the era hundreds of years ago too. We know of baths back from the ancient times where they led water through copper and lead pipes. Proper water pressure was guaranteed by the constant work of slaves or by gravity, since water was usually delivered to the bath from a reservoir which was located higher than the place of use.
Nowadays water supplying is not the main challenge for engineers, although it is very important. Even before water arrives to the bath, there is a huge problem with it: is the many dissolved compounds in the water that can cause several problems, even though in some cases these compounds are the ones we want to absorb during a bath in thermal waters.
The main enemy is lime. The precipitating of dissolved carbon dioxide causes the forming of the non-dissolvable calcium-carbonate and magnesium-carbonate. These are the compounds that cause lime which crusts in the pipes, making their cross-section smaller and smaller. There are three ways of getting rid of lime: mechanical, hydrochloride acid and magnetic treatment. Magnetic treatment works because it makes limestone fall apart to small crystals, which are unable to connect again and crust. Strong magnets around the pipes prove to be very effective in the fight against lime.
Unfortunately limestone is not the only problem. Thermal water usually contains too much dissolved gas, from the various types methane is the most dangerous, this is why it needs to be removed. Gas containing water enters the degassing apparatus on the top and makes its way down through trays and baffle plates. The majority of dissolved methane precipitates, while the water flows through the big surfaced trays and gets through the bumpers and drip trays.
Besides methane many other materials need to be removed to make the water safe for both people and the materials of the pool. Dissolved carbon dioxide reacts with the concrete of the wall of the pool and corrodes it. Calcium and magnesium ions make the water hard. Baths usually use an ion changing device in which dissolved magnesium and calcium ions are being replaced by sodium ions, thus reducing the hardness of the water. Other processes are needed to get rid of dissolved iron, manganese and arsenic.
If we do this much to clear water, we are not going to waste it. This is why we need reservoirs with huge efficiency which are usually sunk below the ground. These reservoirs are mainly made from reinforced concrete, and their perfect non-permeability and insulation are very important. The task of the reservoir is to reserve water, thus compensating the uneven water consuming of the bath and granting even water supplying. Just think of a water filled pool and of the amount of water going down the spillway after 100 people have jumped into the water.
There is great need for these reservoirs in order to make water flow out evenly and to keep the perfect water level. All of this water movement is being granted by high capacity pumps located in a soundproof powerhouse surrounded by clearing equipments, storage tanks and measuring metres, which work together in harmony to grant a fun pool time for the whole family.