Despite a generally flat pool market, some niche areas of the industry have enjoyed solid growth in the past year. In southern California, a technology known as Mobile RO, which filters pool water more completely than is possible through traditional means — and thereby obviates drain and fill procedures — is catching on and producing healthy revenue increases for companies providing the service.

Mobile RO stands for “mobile reverse osmosis,” which in practice means truck-mounted reverse osmosis equipment is used to filter very fine particles from pools in order to lower TDS, salt, cyanuric acid, calcium and even phosphate levels without wasting water by draining. A by-product of the procedure, according to Bruce Wettstein, president of Pool Services Technologies in Escondido, Calif., is amazingly clean water, which has been filtered to a greater degree than most consumers have seen.

Reverse osmosis filtration is not a new technology; it has been in mainstream use in many countries for more than 50 years. Mobile RO providers have simply put the equipment on trucks and made it available to backyard swimming pools. The idea has been very well received in dry areas such as Wettstein’s home near San Diego, where homeowners and service people are loathe to watch 20,000 gallons of fresh water flushed down the sewers.

 “I can tell you that we had total sales in 2010 of about $36,000, while our year to date figures currently are roughly $156,000; quite an increase from last year. For total pools treated with the RO process, we were at 26 for all of 2010, and we are currently at 74 for this year,” Wettstein says.

“We believe that this is a great alternative to draining and refilling, especially in drought areas,” he adds. “We also believe that we provide a much better water quality than can be had anywhere.”