Pool Info: Chitosan: Pool Clarifier and Chelator
Chitin (pronounced kite-in) came into being in the 1970's when the EPA ordered fishing companies to stop dumping the shells of crabs and lobsters back into the ocean. Researchers discovered that the chitin contained in the shells had properties that could be applicable in a variety of industrial uses. Similar to cellulose, chitin is a naturally occurring polymer, and the second most abundant naturally occurring polymer on the planet. It is also the only naturally occurring polyelectrolyte.
Chitosan is the child biopolymer of chitin or a deacetylated chitin. When combined with other liquids, it becomes water soluble and retains a positive charge. This makes the chitosan cationic, attracting sediment and contaminants to it for easier filtration. In this way it behaves as a clarifier and filter aid for water treatment. Chitosan can also chelate (form electrostatic bonds) with metals and minerals, making removal from the water possible by filtration. Oils and scum are separated from water as chitosan forms insoluble emulsions, which you may see rise to the water surface after an initial treatment with chitin products.
The combination of chitin's remarkable properties makes it an extremely versatile pool chemical. Chitin is natural, non-toxic, non-allergenic, anti-microbial, and is also fully bio-degradable. It has a strong positive charge, which allows it to bond easily with negatively charged surfaces or materials; including metals and any micro-contaminants in the pool water. It has numerous uses in wastewater treatment, as an effective coagulant, a chelating polymer and an absorption medium. Because it is all natural, it can also be used in resource protected areas (lakes, streams, wetlands) for safe water quality improvement.
For pool & spa use, chitin is produced in a patented formula by the Halo Source Company and marketed under the name SeaKlear in a large line of liquid chemicals for pool water clarity, stain treatment or algae prevention. The properties of chitin enable it to attach itself to a variety of organic contaminants, minerals, metals, and oils. The result is clearer, cleaner water with less staining and scaling. Halo Source also notes a beneficial effect on the filtering medium, whether sand, D.E., or cartridge. The efficiency of your filtering improves with regular use as chitin's natural coagulants help the filter to trap more dirt and debris.
Sea-Klear clarifier or Natural Chemistry’s 4-in-1 clarifier is added as a liquid directly to the pool. It's touted as an all in one replacement for clarifiers, filter aids, stain & scale magnets, and enzymes. The Pool Janitor has used Sea-Klear with great result, and can recommend it for many types of poor water condition. It is compatible with all types of pool chemicals, and a great addition to any pool sanitizing program or wastewater treatment.