Preventing Pool Problems

A recent study ( revealed that people do, indeed, pee in pools. But the National Swimming Pool Foundation says that's no reason to stop swimming, and offers ways that coaches and facility managers can tackle this problem.

The NSPF has recommendations to improve water and air quality by reducing urine in pools. A few small changes by coaches, parents and facility managers can prevent pee in the pool. After all, the swimmers, parents and coaches have the most to gain, since they are the ones who are exposed to the water and breathing the air.

Just because one report suggests we should fear urine in the pool doesn't mean people should stay away from the water. People of all ages can benefit from the wonder of water. Immersion and water activity can reduce lower back pain, blood pressure and arthritis symptoms, and can improve mental and physical health. Recent science has shown that even the sight of water can improve one's mood.

But the problem of pee in the pool shouldn't be shrugged off, either. Here are some strategies suggested by the NSPF.

First, everyone from swim coaches to parents should encourage showers and bathroom breaks before entering the water. It is important to recognize that being submerged in water stimulates the body to create more urine. In addition, there are other simple solutions that coaches, parents and facility managers can incorporate that reduce pee in the pool.

Swim coaches should require a bathroom break 30 to 60 minutes into the practice. For example, it takes about 40 minutes in the water for a person to feel the need to urinate. A short break that borders this time frame will reduce peeing in the pool.

Parents who frequent waterparks, public pools or backyard pools should schedule "out of pool" time for a snack, sunscreen and bathroom break every 30 to 60 minutes.

Facility managers should consider two ways to prevent pee in the pool. First, schedule short breaks to encourage people to exit the water. For example, a 10-minute adults-only swim time or an out-of-pool activity every hour encourages people to exit the pool and use the bathroom. Second, post signage that suggests using the bathroom and showering before getting into the pool.

Air quality can also be improved for indoor facilities when they keep urine out of the water. What's more, everyone from children to masters can gain the benefits of one of the most fun and healthy activities. When coaches, parents and facility managers make small changes, the water we enjoy and the air we breathe is healthier, safer and better.

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