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A Costa Rican Case Study – A Long-Term Water Quality Solution

Bringing happiness into people’s lives is the greatest reward we experience in this business. We often develop great relationships with our clients as we get to know them and understand their aquatic wants and needs. Delivering the perfect pool can be a deeply personal process, and it’s common that we stay in touch with our clients long after the work has been completed.

Case in point, I recently heard via email from a past client, Joe Lukas, who has one of our pools at his home on the west coast of Costa Rica. Joe had read my book, The Water Quality Professional, and wanted to share his thoughts.

He wrote: “The Water Quality Professional should be read by everyone in the aquatic maintenance, design, or construction industry. It is a tutorial not only on the state of the art of technology in the industry but also on how to run a company, any company, actually, where the customer is king. This book should be of great value to those who do routine pool maintenance (you have raised those tasks to a high art), but especially to architects and engineers who are involved in the design/build process. It provides the key points to consider in those areas and clearly outlines the objective that you describe so perfectly.”

Naturally, I was very flattered by his kind words and also inspired that after five years, Joe is still passionate about the process of creating systems that deliver quality water. Looking back on the work we did together developing his and his wife’s pool, it stands as a great example of client collaboration in an effort to achieve artisan water quality in a beautiful setting. 

A Place in the Sun

Joe and his wife, Susan Connelly, have lived in Costa Rica for the past 15 years. He is a former mechanic and all-around technically savvy guy but had no experience with swimming pools when we first met. Susan is a lifelong swimmer and wanted a pool for lap swimming as well as entertaining. She had some strong opinions about pools, water quality, and the value of the aquatic lifestyle. Joe’s idea of swimming laps is cooling off while he makes his way to the cocktail waiting at the end of the pool.

The couple occasionally rent their property as a vacation getaway and wanted the pool to serve as one of the primary luxury features. Their home is beautifully appointed and located in a stunningly beautiful spot overlooking the Pacific Ocean. It is the kind of place many people dream of owning. It’s truly a slice of paradise.

Joe was looking for help developing a pool, found one of my articles on the Internet, and got in touch. “I wanted to find someone who worked to a high standard,” he said of his search for a water quality professional. “Even though I didn’t know much of anything about pools, I can tell when somebody knows what they’re talking about.”

Because Joe and Susan were both concerned with superior water quality and reliability, I knew from the start that they were prime candidates for our SRK HydroZone 3® system. Over the course of several email exchanges, I explained how the system uses ozone, UV, and small amounts of chlorine, along with robust filtration and efficient hydraulics, to provide the finest water quality available anywhere. They agreed to install the system in their new pool.

Susan was largely responsible for the physical design of the pool itself. It was designed primarily for lap swimming, 22 meters long, 2 meters wide, with a depth of 1 to 1.5 meters. The design also featured a shelf entry on one end that starts at 6 inches deep and slopes down to 18 inches before it drops off to 1 meter. “It’s a great feature that allows kids to enjoy playing in shallow water and offers an inviting place to lounge for adults,” Joe said.

A Fantastic Swimming Experience Year after Year

In the years since the HydroZone 3 system was installed, Joe and Susan have run it eight hours a day, which neatly turns over their 15,000 gallons. They are scrupulous about maintaining perfect mineral balance using a simple reagent test kit and basic chemicals. Their region gets heavy rains part of the year, which in effect replaces a portion of the water. The rainy season helps keep TDS (total dissolved solids) and cyanuric acid levels down, but also tends to flip the pH, both up and down.

During the summer, the extreme heat elevates water temps to over 90 degrees. Joe reports that the warm water does cause some minor algae blooms, which are readily handled with cleaning and elevating the chlorine level over 2 ppm (parts per million) during the summer months. As for the overall water quality, Susan reports the water is always “clean, clear, and has a silky feeling,” which is something we hear from almost all of our clients.

“We really enjoy our pool; it’s a great part of our home and a big draw for guests renting the property,” Joe said. “We’ve learned that all pools require care, but this system rewards the effort with outstanding water quality and a fantastic swimming experience.”

the Water Geek


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A blog about all things water, written by SRK's founder Steve Kenny.