Everyone Does It!

December 6th, 2012

Can we talk?

It’s sort of a delicate subject.  We talk about little children in pools and that they might sometimes accidentally pee in the pool.  We need to teach them better manners, and they will stop doing it.

But really, there’s more to this story:  nearly everyone pees in the pool at one time or other. In fact, Splash recently reported that Olympic champion Ryan Lochte (London games, 2012) says peeing is “automatic” for him when he hits the water.  Lochte and others seem to think that this is taken care by the sanitation system, so it’s no big deal.

However, the Splash article rightly goes on to say that this little misbehavior is more serious than it’s sometimes treated.  Human urine is one of the organic substances that can interact with chlorine to create chloramines, a probable carcinogen and a definite cause of swimmer’s asthma. These mutated organic compounds are a serious problem and a challenge to your sanitation program.

Cleaning Up the Pool Water

If your residential pool is used, it’s probably got urine in it, at least some of the time. Little children will be more of a problem, but not the only one.  Your sanitation program needs to take this into account in at least two ways:

  1.  You should try to educate users about using the restroom before they get in the pool.  This can be an embarrassing thing to bring up, so a little sign on the fence or pool house wall might help by giving the rules of the pool.
  2. Your sanitization program should be adjusted to explicitly account for the possibility that urine will be in the water.

In pools that are primarily using chlorine, keeping the free accessible chlorine at adequate level (e.g., 5 ppm) is essential.  But even this may not work against intermittent contaminants caused by an unusually high bather load, for example.

Ozone and AOP Destroy Both Urine and Chloramines

Ozone oxidizes both the urine and the resulting chloramines that can result from the interaction of urine (a chloramine precursor) and chlorine.  And the Advanced Oxidation Process (AOP) in the new Solar Eclipse produces an even stronger oxidation potential to remove urine and chloramine contaminants almost instantaneously.

Using an ozone or AOP system as the foundation of a sanitation program can help keep the pool water safe.  Even when human nature calls.

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