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Best Clear System

Harold Tapley and his Manteca, California, pool construction company, Aquos Pools, have a mission to create the most sustainable and environmentally friendly pools available.

A 50-year, National TOP 50 builder and second-generation pool builder, Tapley’s family-run company builds what they call “The e3 Pool”: eco smart, efficient, and effortless when using the “Best Clear System” method. It’s a nature-based environmental solution for the family pool.

The heart of the e3 pool is Tapley’s patented Best Clear System, a manual or futuristically automated pool filter cleaning method that uses a Backwash Eco-Sustainability Tank – a water reuse system for residential pools, and hopefully soon, commercial applications. The method/process is in the final stages of certification through NSF to certify the Best Clear POD for NSF-50, allowing for turbidity reduction and pretreated water savings.

Here’s how it works: Periodically, filter water is backwashed to the Best Clear POD, where the turbid, dirty water is allowed to precipitate to the bottom of the tank for a minimum of 24 hours up to 7 days. The water in the upper 85 percent of the tank then clears to a “supernatant” through the natural settling process and is then sent back through the filtration and treatment train, where it is fine-cleaned and treated to be sent back to the pool. This process can be manual, or it can be automated with the proper added components and programming. The POD itself is cleaned at least once a year, or as needed based on filter load, by removing the top of the POD and simply shop-vaccing the debris out in about 5 to 10 minutes.

The POD is about 30 inches in diameter and 40 inches tall, and if space is of concern, it can be located anywhere in the yard. Accessibility to the plumbing at the equipment location is needed, and also the POD should be installed on a hard, level surface. For larger volume backwash needs or capacities, the PODs can be installed in a sequence to meet the application.

The recommended filtration media to be used with the Best Clear System is an Activated Filter Media, or AFM. AFM has been proven effective in more than 500 thousand pools around the world. It’s a highly engineered product made from a specific type of glass to achieve optimum particle size and shape. One of the main differences between AFM and other filter media is its bio-resistance. After six to 12 months, biofilm in a sand filter has gathered to a point where the grains stick together, forming clumps. That leads to the formation of larger clumps, which causes channeling of the filter bed. That reduces filtration performance and allows bio-fouled, unfiltered water to reach those using the pool. This does not occur with AFM.

While AFM is recommended, the Best Clear System water recycling tank works with all existing media types: sand, glass, DE, or cartridge, and all brands: Fluidra, Pentair, Hayward, Waterway, etc. As a result, you can confidently transition any existing or new pool to the Best Clear System, knowing that you will not incur additional costs based upon the filter.

According to Tapley, the Best Clear System accomplishes three environmental goals:

  1. The Best Clear System follows the Environmental Protection Agency’s BMPs (Best Management Practices) by recycling cleared backwash water through a method already used for water sustainability in South Africa and Australia, where it has earned the Smart Approved watermark.

  2. The Best Clear System pool water recycling method saves thousands of gallons of water per pool when cleaning D.E. and sand or glass media as well as cartridge filters per year. It's also a process for environmental protection of algae, plankton, fish, turtles, and all sea life, preventing turbid, pretreated wasted water from heading down the street to storm drains, where it will enter rivers, lakes, and eventually the ocean.

  3. The Best Clear System will also protect sensitive groundwater aquifers, waterways, and oceans from intrusion of metals like the toxic algaecide copper sulfate, or salt, chlorine, acids, and turbidity from a typical pool filter cleaning cycle.

Tapley points to a 2010 study conducted by the California Urban Water Conservation Council, where they referred to filter backwashing as “one of the largest single uses of water by pools.”

The backwashing process when using a sand filter can discharge up to 200 gallons of water per cleaning. And those 200 gallons of water are 99% clear, with only a small amount of dirt in suspended turbidity. Then an additional 200 gallons of fresh water has to be added to top off the pool.

And if you consider the number of pools with sand filters, the numbers really start to add up. It’s estimated that in the Western U.S. alone, there are more than 1 million pools with sand filters. Take just the previously mentioned 200 gallons of water wasted and multiply it by 25 backwashes per year; that adds up to five billion gallons of wasted water every year. Then you have to top off the pool, which adds another five billion gallons.

And these billions of gallons of saltwater and freshwater are backwashed out of sand filtered swimming pools into sensitive farmland groundwater aquifers, waterways, and oceans every year. That water is loaded with chemicals, salt, and metals, which are harmful to plant and animal life.

For those not moved by environmental arguments, it’s also true that municipalities are growing increasingly strict about dumping water down street storm drains, levying steep fines for backwashing into gutters.

Tapley invites the pool and spa industry to be an active part of water conservation and environmental protection efforts by saving the planet, one pool at a time. You can also become a dealer of the Best Clear System. Go to

Best Clear System

, or call Harold Tapley at (209) 629-8485 to learn more.


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