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Propel Swim Academy Combines RMF and UV for Superior Water Quality

Water and energy savings within a compact footprint achieved for swimming academy


Propel Swim Academy is a three pool, 12,000 ft² facility located in South Riding, Virginia. This family friendly swim school is the only stand-alone facility in the South Riding area to feature three indoor pools. During planning, Propel‘s owner, Linda Stewart, focused on three primary goals: water quality, sustainability and a compact footprint. 

The challenge for Propel Swim Academy was to create an environmentally friendly, state-of-the-art facility providing the best water quality for its patrons, all within a compact construction footprint.  Fitting three pools (including one full size 25-yard lap pool) and a pump room into a 12,000 ft² facility required careful consideration of the equipment selected.



For filtration, Neptune-Benson’s Defender® Regenerative Media Filter was selected. The Defender filter features a vertical design which requires 75% less space than a conventional sand filter. This allows for construction of a smaller pump room and allows a Defender filter to fit into spaces that might otherwise be prohibitive to sand filters.

In addition to its compact footprint, the Defender filter provides substantially better water quality than a sand filter; filtering particulates down to 1 micron at a much higher efficiency. In additional, ETS-UVTM ultraviolet (UV) disinfection systems were selected as a secondary source of disinfection to deactivate chlorine tolerant pathogens and reduce chloramines in the facility.  UV disinfection is recommended by the Model Aquatic Health Code (MAHC), especially for facilities that cater to infants or young children. The combination of regenerative media filters and UV disinfection provides crystal clear water, improved air quality and a great overall user experience.

The third focal point for Propel Swim Academy was an emphasis on sustainability. Aquatics facilities generally require a significant amount of water and energy to operate, so operational efficiency helps decrease environmental and budgetary impact. The Defender filters unique design reduces water consumption at aquatic facilities because they do not require a traditional backwash.  Instead, Defender filters utilize a unique “bumping“ system to regenerate their perlite media rather than requiring a traditional backwash.  This can save thousands of gallons of water over the course of a single month.  It also reduces chemical and energy costs by reducing the amount of make-up water needed to replenish the water lost to backwashing.



After approximately 6 months of construction, the facility opened and has quickly become a model for both water quality and sustainability. The combination of regenerative media filters and UV disinfection provides crystal clear water, improved air quality and a great overall user experience.

" Water quality is as important as the swim lessons themselves. We frequently provide tours of our pump room, showing kids and their parents the filters, pumps and how to do a “bump” on a Defender filter. "

Linda Stewart, Propel Swim Academy Owner

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