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Re: Garden Pools

In a message dated 11/13/98 1:09:05 PM Eastern Standard Time,
plittleton@ce.net writes:

 If you buy butyl make sure that the grade of butyl is suitable for ponds!
 You should obtain a vulcanized butyl intended for ponds. Other rubber blends
 may be toxic to fish. This came from "Water in the Garden" by James Allison.

I do not know what butyl is, other than being a blend of rubber, so I have
focused on the use of EPDM rubber, which I am going to finish discussing in
this EMail..  For those of you who care, EPDM stands for Ethylene Propylene Di
Monomer (sp?).  It seems to be the best grade of rubber to use for pools,
since most of the garden centers and pool supplyers are selling it.  

With the question of toxicity to fish being brought up, I decided to call the
manufacturer of EPDM.. I found that for the most part, only 2 companies make
it - Firestone Rubber and a company named Carlisle, which I believe is in
Illinois.  I spoke with a man at Firestone and asked him  if they made more
than one type of EPDM rubber, explaining to him why I wanted to know that.  He
said, "If it has Firestone Rubber anywhere on the box or product, it is all
the same.  We do not make different qualities of EPDM rubber."  I asked him
specifically if it was toxic to fish and he then passed me on to another
person, but my call was answered by a woman because the man I was being
transferred to was away from his desk..  As to the toxicity  question, she
indicated there "could" be a problem with certain plasticizers leaching out of
the rubber which could be trouble for fish..  She then told me they have a
type of EPDM rubber that is "Fish Friendly", not knowing why, other than to
say that if the EPDM rubber you buy has a white fish on it and the words "Fish
Friendly", you're OK.

Later I spoke to the second man I had tried to speak to, and he also mentioned
the "Fish Friendly" rubber they had.  I asked him  what could be toxic about
the rubber they sell to roofers, and he said there could be machining dust on
the product, which could cause fish to have trouble with their gills, and
there could initially be some leaching of chemicals, but it would be
temporary.  With a couple more questions he admitted that a good washing with
water would eliminate the dust, and if one scrubbed the liner with good brush
and some household cleaner, like 409, rinse the liner well, fill the pool with
water and let it soak for two to three weeks, and then drain it and refill it,
there should be no problem.

I was not able to talk to the people at Carlisle, so I do not know who they
sell to, or if they make a garden quality liner.  

So, if you are still looking for a good liner and want to save some money, I'd
definitely go the EPDM way and buy it through a roofing dealer, and then I
would give 'er a good cleaning.  

And, now that I think of it, about a week after putting 8 small goldfish in my
pond last spring, 7 of them developed a disease which neither I nor my pet
shop friend could identify.  All 7 died, and I thought at the time since I had
used some rainwater which had run off my new roof (and had a slight orange
tint to it - the water I mean) that I had caused their problem..  I took out
the remaining fish, drained the pool and scrubbed it with a nylon brush and
refilled it..  Fish number 8 survived and today is a healthy but fat fantail.
Who knows what caused the problem, but that was all the trouble I had with my
fish - and my plants did wonderfully.  

So that's my story about EPDM pool liners.  If I had to do it again, would I
buy from a roofing company?...Absolutely!  Would I wash the liner well?  Yes,
and I will even though mine was sold through Laguna and should be OK.  I want
that big old Koi that's swimming around my aquarium to be healthy and happy -
we're both looking forward to his new summer home.

Happy Garden Pool Planning - Ronnie
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