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Enzymes give chlorine a helping hand

The ongoing chlorine shortage and attendant price increases have forced pool and spa technicians to consider ways of maximizing the efficacy and lifetime of what little chlorine that can be found. Many have discovered the benefits of enzymes.

Enzymes are marketed as “green” natural ways to reduce organic waste, but they can be a very powerful tool in water management.

For example, when the Exxon Valdez ran aground in Alaska in 1989, spreading oil 3,000 square miles, enzymes were used to assist in the cleanup through the process of bioremediation, an enzymatic process of using bacteria to degrade chemical substances.

Enzymes are catalysts. That means they work by lowering the energy necessary for a reaction to occur. This is accomplished by providing different path for the reaction to take place.

They do this is by binding to a molecule and causing a change in that molecule that would have otherwise occurred slowly. Enzymes are extremely selective.

Specific enzymes will react with specific molecules, so they have to be formulated for the job in question.

Some explain the way enzymes work by using a lock and key analogy. Here, only one key will fit the lock.

Enzymes assist in the breakdown of many different types of organic matter in swimming pools.

Those formulated for pools are well suited for oils and grease and small particulate organic plant matter. One advantage in using them is that there is no by-product in the process: they biodegrade this waste until there is nothing left except carbon dioxide and water.

But in addition to oils, enzymes also assist in breaking down other bather waste such as hair, makeup, sweat, animal waste, pollen, plant debris, and urine.

Because chlorine is no longer solely responsible for handling these impurities, the addition of enzymes can dramatically increase the lifetime of the chlorine, while keeping the pool water sparkling and clear.

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