How Safe Is Swimming Pool Water?
Have you ever felt itchy skin or eye irritation after a swim? Or wondered why some pools have a distinct “pool smell?” After all, why should a beautiful pool of crystal-clear water be anything but perfectly pure?
4 Types of Pool Contaminants
For starters, it is not easy being a perfectly pure pool – no matter how big or small! We can group common pool contaminants into 4 groups.
Firstly, a pool continues to acquire all sorts of contaminants from the environment. As an example, leaves dropping into a pool bring their share of oils, bacteria and acidic chemicals.
Contamination from Swimmers
Secondly, the swimmers! Yes, the pools are for swimmers, but different people have different ideas about – shall we say “standards of personal hygiene”? So, the level of personal hygiene acceptable to a person may be abhorrent to others.
Regardless, as a matter of scientific fact, most people bring with them particles of skin & hair, sweat (and other body fluids), traces of body lotions, deodorants, perfumes & creams, in addition to host of bacteria into a swimming pool.
Aquatic parks, swim schools, hydrotherapy pools and other public pools attract diverse groups of people. As a result, a diverse range of contaminants continue to enter public pools as new swimmers jump in!
To make matters worse, the number of people in a public pool can change depending on the season of the year, day of the week and time of the day. As a result, public swimming pools, aquatic centers, hydro-therapy pools and swim schools need to pay much more attention to pool hygiene.
Chloramines Health Effects
Thirdly, public pools in Australia are legally required to maintain a minimum level of residual chlorine in water. The residual chlorine is essential as primary disinfectant to protect the swimmers.
However, the chlorine in pool water reacts with the contaminants in water to form complex chemicals called as chloramines. Chloramines are primarily responsible for the “pool smell”, eye and skin irritation and breathing difficulties for people with Asthma. Young kids and the elderly are especially susceptible to adverse health effects of chloramines.
Cryptosporidium, Giardia and Chlorine Resistant Microorganisms
Though chlorine has been around for 100 years, it is unable to protect water from some types of microorganisms. Most common examples of chlorine-resistant microorganisms are Cryptosporidium (Crypto), Giardia and some viruses. In other words, if Cryptosporidium, Giardia or any chlorine-resistant microorganism finds its way into pool water, chlorine doesn’t offer help!
No matter which form of chlorine we use – chlorine resistant microorganisms continue to pose a threat to swimmers.
In conclusion, pool water treatment needs to address 4 groups of contaminants.
Contact us if you have any questions about UV destruction of Chloramines, or protection from Cryptosporidium, Giardia and other chlorine-resistant microorganisms.