Feature Article - July 2018
Find a printable version here

Come On In, The Water's Fine!

Effective Systems to Maintain Water Quality

By Deborah L. Vence

Educating Swimmers on Pool Cleanliness

Industry experts offered up some tips on how swimmers can do their part to help keep pools clean.

"One of the most difficult tasks of a pool operator is attempting to educate patrons on the importance of showering prior to entering a swimming pool along with following proper hygiene," Hefter said. "Trace amounts of urine or fecal matter can enter the pool through individuals not wiping properly after using the restroom facilities. Other times, it is individuals that have fecal or urine accidents in the pool."

Hence, the easiest way to educate patrons is by providing materials on the importance of not entering the pool if they have had any sort of stomach illness or diarrhea within the past 72 hours.

"Let patrons know how fecal and urine incidents affect the quality of the chlorine in the water as well as how it can affect the health and wellness of everyone using the facility," she said.

Education is key, Post said. "Most people believe the problem with the pool is the fact that it has chlorine in it." However, the reality is that the urine and products that are being introduced to the chlorine are actually creating the problem.

"The general public must be educated to know that not peeing in the pool and showering before getting in the water will have the greatest impact on their comfort while swimming," he said. "The NSPF has created fliers that can be posted around the pool to help with this education process."

In a guest blog written by Post for the NSPF, he explained that "The pool is only creating the problem because we allow swimmers in it. Sounds funny, but any operator would agree that an empty pool is easier to maintain. As soon as users enter the pool, the chlorine starts doing its job, and chloramines will start to form. But, a pool with no swimmers doesn't really help our communities."

"So," he stated, "swimmers can help with two simple steps. First, shower before entering the pool. Far too often I hear people say, 'Well, there's chlorine in the pool, so I don't need to shower.' In other parts of the world, swimmers treat the water like drinking water, not like a bathtub. Swimmers can also help by not peeing in the pool. Several studies have found that urea (found in urine) is the main source of those pesky chloramines. If everyone would shower before getting in the pool and make sure to use the toilets when needed, we would see a huge improvement in air quality."

What's more, an infographic from the NSPF included some suggestions on "preventing pee in the pool" as well.

They comprise the following:

  • Swim coaches can require a break 30 to 60 minutes into a practice.
  • Parents can schedule "out of pool" snack time that give children a chance to use the rest room.
  • Facility directors can schedule "Adult Only" swim time for 10 minutes every hour.
  • Provide signage that reminds pool-goers to use the restroom and shower before entering the pool.
  • Everyone can help by encouraging bathroom use before entering the pool, water park or aquatic facility.