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Heavy Metals: Oxidation and Metal Staining

It's your one-way ticket to midnight. Call it heavy metal.
Oh wait, we're talking about dissolved metals in water. Just uhh...disregard that Sammy Hagar reference. Sorry.

In this article we will be discussing metals in swimming pools. How they interact with other things in water like chlorine, and also how to prevent issues like stains. We will cover oxidation, sequestration and chelation, and attempt to simplify these terms.

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Scum Lines Matter

Scum lines are exactly what they sound like: lines of scum that form around the water’s edge, adhering to tile, grout, gunite and even stainless steel. By scum, we mean carbon-based bather waste (such as body oils, sweat, grease etc.), as well as body products (like deodorant, perfumes, sunscreen and lotions). If you are unfamiliar with scum lines, ask any lifeguard. They are often assigned to scrub them off with a brush and cleaning gel, and it takes a good bit of time and labor. Not to mention, a lot of cleaning products.

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What are Chloramines?

Chloramines are chemical byproducts of chlorine oxidizing nitrogen-based compounds in water. They are referred to as disinfectant byproducts (DBPs). Normally, it is the incomplete oxidation of carbon, ammonia and nitrogen-based organic waste that creates the long list of DBPs, whereas chloramines themselves follow a specific pattern.

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