Indoor Pool Air Quality: Addressing One of the Nation’s Most Underrated Issues

greensboro-aquatic-center-pool

By Caitlin Daday, Swimming World College Intern

At the 2013 USA Swimming Winter Junior National Championships in Greensboro, North Carolina, 2016 Olympian Caeleb Dressel was hospitalized in the middle of the meet. The reason? The air quality.

The Greensboro Aquatic Center is just one of myriad pools across the nation that repeatedly leaves swimmers struggling to catch their breath. Violent coughing, burning eyes, and dry and blotchy skin afflict almost any swimmer who has ever swum in an indoor pool.

Yet although poor air quality in indoor pools affects nearly all swimmers at some point in their careers, little effort has been made to seriously address the problem. In fact not a single study has been done to see what effects prolonged exposure to bad air has on swimmers even after they hang up their goggles.

greensboro-aquatic-center-2014-nationals

Photo Courtesy: Shanda Crowe/ProSwimVisuals.com

Aimee Schmitt is a former member of the USA Swimming National Team and now serves as vice president of sales for Swim Spray, a product developed to help eliminate chlorine from swimmer’s bodies. Today, Schmitt is highly allergic to chlorine. She and her husband, also a former swimmer, cannot even be in an indoor pool for more than 15 minutes to watch their daughter swim before the chlorinated air begins to affect them.

“We’ve moved forward with improved suits, training, blocks, caps, goggles, you name it,” Schmitt says. “But our approach to the water hasn’t changed.”

Air quality issues in indoor pools are not being properly addressed. In a sport like swimming, Schmitt says, having healthy air to breath is incredibly important.

Schmitt says that awareness is the first step to solving the problem. At this point there are still many unanswered questions about the size and scope of the issue. There are people searching for a solution, but at this point they still do not know all the answers.

The next step is understanding the source of the problem.

Fortunately for swimmers the issue is not pure chlorine, Andrew Chadeayne, the creator of Swim Spray, says. Chlorine by itself is essentially a chemical weapon, so chlorine alone would be deadly. What swimmers actually breathe in is a collection of molecules.

“The number one offender is pee in the pool because of a chemical called urea,” Chadeayne says.Andrew-Chadeayne

Urea has two nitrogen molecules in it, which react with chlorine to create chloramines, he says. Other oils on our bodies help to form chloramines as well. Chloramines are the culprit. When they are agitated, such as when swimmers are in the water, they begin to cause coughing and irritation.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, chloramines are most concentrated just above the surface of the water. The gas they release is heavier than air, which means that the bulk of the chloramines settle right where they can cause the most problems for swimmers.

Facilities managers contribute to the problem by not being wary of the actual amount of chlorine in the pool, Chadeayne says. Free chlorine molecules react with each other and become combined. Combined chlorine is what throws managers off.

When a facilities manager measures the chlorine in the pool, they are only looking at free chlorine levels, Chadeayne says. If the chlorine molecules are combined, the free chlorine reading looks low. They then add more chlorine, only making the issue worse. Now there is too much chlorine in the pool, and even more chloramines are able to form.

Many coaches or facilities managers attempt to improve the situation for their athletes by turning on fans or opening up doors. To the dismay of many, these very short term solutions do little.

“It’s like in your dorm in the corner you have a can of rotten eggs and put a fan in but keep the eggs there,” Chadeayne says. “The smell keeps coming out just as fast as the fan is going.”

Open doors are just as useless. In fact doors can even cause more harm if they are letting cold air in, Chadeayne says. Cold air entering the building will create a cloud or vapor above the pool rather than getting the chloramines out.

Mick Nelson, facilities director for USA Swimming, says the only cure is to get swimmers in the showers and to get them to stop peeing in the pool. When meets get bad, a lot of the problems can be tied back to how bathers have treated the pool in the last week.

“One person not taking a shower can affect the pool for nine days,” Nelson says. “The people that complain are the ones causing the problems.”

At this point fixing the problem is dependent upon swimmers and coaches being educated enough to enforce showering before swimming and getting out to use the bathroom, Nelson says. By rinsing off all the sweat and oils on their bodies and not using the pool as their personal toilet, swimmers can help improve their own situation by preventing the creation of chloramines. The cure, however, is difficult to enforce.

At big meets such as the Junior Nationals in Greensboro, it is getting harder and harder to encourage swimmers not to pee in the pool. Tech suits are too hard to get on and off, and when you have to go, well, you have to go. Telling an athlete not to pee in the pool is almost hopeless.

There is also the fact that all the big names are doing it. Even Michael Phelps admits that he pees in the pool. How can you teach young kids not to do something when the greatest of all time admits to doing it?

shh-michael-phelps-mesa-2016

Photo Courtesy: Maddie Kyler

The only way to mitigate the effects is to get an ultraviolet filter system, Nelson says. In UV systems, a steel tube with UV in it is placed in the pool’s filter. When the water goes through, it gets zapped by UV. The UV then destroys any chloramines and viruses that may be in the water.

UV systems are great for daily use, Nelson says. But for big meets, they are not quick enough. The whole process takes six hours, so when there are hundreds of swimmers in the pool, the air quality begins to deteriorate rapidly.

There are other “solutions” out there, but they too are largely ineffective. “It’s like putting a filter on a cigarette and saying it’s healthier,” Nelson says. There is no way a system can bring in enough fresh air.

The CDC recommends setting up a system that not only brings in fresh air but also pumps out enough of the bad air. If fresh air is only being brought in, the contaminated air will build up. Likewise, facilities also need to continue to bring in fresh air even when it is cold, despite the increased cost. Otherwise the negative health effects will increase.

While there are ways to handle air quality issues, the problems still persist. Even the best facilities in the nation can bring about trouble. If the problem is so widespread, what is being done about it?

At this point, not really anything.

Schmitt says the air quality issues are among the more taboo topics of the swimming world—no one has really had a chance to talk about it yet. There are clearly problems, but they are largely under recognized.

Still today, in 2016, no one really knows how bad constant exposure to contaminated pool air is for swimmers, Chadeayne says. The short term effects are obvious. It is bad when athletes are constantly unable to breathe. It is bad when athletes cannot sleep because they are up coughing so much. It is bad when violent coughing leads to vomiting.

If these are only the short term effects, what about down the road, later in life? That still remains to be seen, Chadeayne says. There is the potential relation to asthma and other respiratory problems, but as there have been no studies, these links cannot be definitively proved.

As of now, there are two pending law suits involving the connection between respiratory problems and bad air quality, Nelson says. The way things are going, these are likely only the beginning.

The air quality problem is not going away. Until it is properly addressed, swimmers will continue to train and compete in pools that literally take away their ability to breathe, with little knowledge of what damage will be done to their future health.

All commentaries are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Swimming World Magazine nor its staff.

146 comments

  1. Jessica Mack

    The University of Maryland almost killed us all this past weekend at the NCAP Invite because the air was so bad. ? I needed three days to rid my cough!

    • Charlie Patten

      It was horrible. Bryans skin was burned from the chlorine as well. No bueno

      • avatar
        Chlorinefree

        Re:chlorine burn on skin–SwimSpray is a patented chlorine neutralizer for skin, hair and suits.

    • avatar
      heather

      Not half as bad as the Fairland Aquatic Center — I watch that meet from my car.. h

    • avatar
      Kat

      The NCAP invite got bad when swimmers continued to place towels and bags and their bottoms on the vents. Constant nagging helped at the time then 20 minutes later they were blocked again ?

    • avatar
      Alex

      I was there and I agree. After each of my races at NCAP I coughed so hard I threw up.

    • Paddock Evacuator

      Hi Jessica and Charlie, we are sorry to hear about the IAQ problems at the meet. If we can assist in any way don’t hesitate to reach out!

  2. avatar
    Swimmer

    Hence why the pool is given the acronym GAC!

    • Paddock Evacuator

      Hi Karin, if we can assist in any way don’t hesitate to reach out!

  3. Alison Sargeant

    Cheryl Wheatley Kerrie Osborne

  4. Rachel Moore

    Abi Rutledge we talked about this All the time!

    • Paddock Evacuator

      Hi Rachel and Abi, if we can assist in any way please let us know!

  5. Chris M

    Ally-Karen Miller Megan Emerson

  6. avatar
    Mary-Helen

    I think the person who invents a pull open flap for peeing in tech suits will be laughing all the way to the bank. If it’s possible to use a toilet easily, I think a swimmer will. That’s why I like regular non-kneeskin suits. You can pull the crotch aside easily to go pee.

    • avatar
      Chris

      Most female athletes with tech suits on just go to the shower in the locker room and pee through their suits standing up. Easiest solution..

  7. Kathleen Dempsey

    Vidur Sharma…… throwback Friday… weren’t you super involved with something like this?

  8. David Naoroz

    Prudence Roberts Milligan

    • Prudence Roberts Milligan

      I wish we could blame urine for SEVA. Mama’s not allergic to urea, however I am to mold. But good read.

  9. Debbie Nevarez LeDoux

    In Clearwater this past weekend and chlorine was so bad faces were burnt and myself as spectator affected my lungs so bad I now have pneumonia!

    • Paddock Evacuator

      Debbie, we are sorry to hear about your respiratory problems. If we can assist in any way don’t hesitate to reach out!

  10. James Williamson

    If the kids stopped peeing in the pool, the air would be much better. It’s not the chlorine, but what’s it’s reacting with.

  11. Erin Worra

    developed lung/breathing problems during several seasons… the wee offenders were not bashful to admit they peed in the pool.
    One season they had to drain/clean the pool it was so bad.

    • Paddock Evacuator

      Erin, we are sorry to hear about your respiratory problems. If we can assist in any way don’t hesitate to reach out!

    • Eric Zhu

      Lmao @brandeis

    • Henry Keegan

      Eric Zhu @babson

    • Eric Zhu

      True the two bad pools

  12. Casey Wrabley

    Robin Mays Wrabley LITERALLY ME

  13. Jennette Hawk-Gonzalez

    They are getting ready to shut down our indoor pool here in Vegas after years of being cited for poor air quality their finally doing something about it. My children swim and so do I as well. It’s hard to breath and I cough a lot and I break out when I’m indoors. I grew up in CA and swam outdoors, it was cold but I never had the problems I do like I have after swimming indoors

    • Paddock Evacuator

      Jennette, we are sorry to hear about the pool closing – please let us know if we can assist!

    • Jennette Hawk-Gonzalez

      Paddock Evacuator I just want somewhere close to swim that isn’t a gym, their are none so I’m now looking into joining a gym to swim till it’s fixed, it’ll be about 2 1/2 months

  14. Nancy Stender

    It’s really difficult to get pool officials at meets to care about air quality. They just shrug heir shoulders.

    • Paddock Evacuator

      Hi Nancy, unfortunately some facilities face tough budgetary choices and others may not be fully informed on the health risks. Please reach out to us if we can assist in any way.

    • Nancy Stender

      Paddock Evacuator I will, thanks!

  15. Jennifer Wilkins

    lisa Lisa Lawrence..get suzukie roxy onto his..

  16. Tracy A Bodenheimer

    First off I’m a lifelong competitive swimmer and coach that has had the pleasure and the not-so pleasure of visiting swimming pools/so-called aquatic venues all over this country and outside the USA. You obviously haven’t been back to the Greensboro Aquatic Center. They installed an in-gutter Evacuator in the dive well (where warm up/cool down happens and most swimmers choose to pee) The GAC is UV and happens to have one of the BEST pool technicians (Richard E Tuttle) and managers (Susan Newell Braman) in the COUNTRY!!! BELIEVE ME, they know POOL CHEMISTRY!! Maybe you should consider doing your “fact checks” and READ the AWESOME reviews the GREENSBORO AQUATIC CENTER has received in the last two years on air quality. Better yet, you SHOULD come back for a visit.

    • Kathy Reeve

      Agreed!! Have an NC swimmer with asthma and it’s one of the best big pools in NC as far as good air quality and being able to compete without respiratory issues.

    • Betsy Harrison

      This system wasn’t in place at first Winter Jrs. In fact, there was a Masters meet there prior to Jrs and the complaints from that meet were huge. So, before you get testy, please know that this was written about the Jrs meet Caleb Dressel swam at.

    • Tracy A Bodenheimer

      Betsy Harrison not testy just stating CURRENT facts. I swam at Masters Nationals. Stories in the media like this, that have outrageous headlines and out of date information HURT facilities which can indirectly hurt Swimming. As a swimmer, I would want to compete in the best facilities~ not only FASTEST but also the HEALTHIEST. I’m thinking this story should had first been noted with ****All commentaries are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Swimming World Magazine nor its staff.**** As readers, I would hope everyone would remain educated and not naive ~We should not be FOOLED into reading headlines that are actually for articles that are used as fillers~or even to sell products.

      • avatar
        completelyconquered

        Hey Tracy just chill out for a second. The facts were stated correctly in the article. Think about the swimmers before you defend a swimming facility. There need to be standards set in place so our swimmers don’t come home from swim meets with bronchitis and pneumonia.

      • avatar
        Graham Smith

        You are defending a facility in which gives you a pay check every week? No bias there?

    • Paddock Evacuator

      Tracy, we appreciate your feedback and completely agree – the biggest testimonial we can provide is “Visit GAC.” I was there for Masters Nationals this year and the air was fantastic 🙂

  17. Marie Moffitt

    Don’t forget the plight of the poor lifeguards and swim instructors, who may spend 30 to 40 hours per week breathing that air. I can remember my son coming home from the doctor with a diagnosis of “lifeguard lung.”

    • avatar
      Travis

      I get that myself between lifeguarding and teaching swim lessons. Last year I would spend 6-7 hours per day in the pool area. Worse is our Certified Pool Operator (CPO) does not maintain it properly and our combined chlorine (chloramines) is usually 4 to 5 times the recommended maximum level of 0.5 ppm. Worse is I have my CPO certification, I know what is wrong and how to fix it but I cannot.

      Quick way to know if the pool is healthy is to smell the air and water. If it smells like chlorine you have too many chloramines. If you open a bottle of bleach, which is is the same chemical used in pools, and smell it you don’t really smell the chlorine. Use a little to clean something and the smell gets really strong.

    • Paddock Evacuator

      Marie, we are sorry to hear about your son’s respiratory problems. If we can assist in any way don’t hesitate to reach out.

    • Marie Moffitt

      Thank you. This was some years ago. He moved to a job in a larger parks and recreation system with better standards, and the problem pool in our suburb was later torn down and replaced with an excellent recreation complex with amazing modern aquatic facilities. There should be air quality standards for pool employees.

  18. Bob Anderson

    This is a great article that exposes a significant health issue for anyone in a pool environment. My personal belief and experience is that a UV system can eliminate most of these problems along with the idea that you swimming in your own urine is repulsive.

    • Paddock Evacuator

      Hi Bob, chlorine does a really good job neutralizing urine and other organics while UV can work well as a secondary disinfectant – but both lead to increased offgassing of disinfectant byproducts. We always appreciate feedback for how we can better improve IAQ in natatoriums if you have a few minutes to talk or shoot us an email.

  19. Mary Jane Karau

    Someone needs to share this with the Kewanee Y

    • Paddock Evacuator

      Hello Mary Jane, let us know if we can assist 🙂

  20. Susan Bowen

    I ended up in the ER with a 2 day hospital stay all brought on by the air quality of the pool we were at!

    • Paddock Evacuator

      Susan, we are so sorry to hear about your respiratory episode. Please let us know if we can assist!!

  21. Zach Burr

    KC Blazers east used to train in a pool that was meant to be opened in the summer, but they made it year round without installing a proper ventilation system. Everybody used to cough and cough sometimes they’d cancel practice. It took them years to fix the problem. Chlorine fog is definitely hard on the lungs. Pools need to be tested regularly for air quality especially bubble dome pools, those are usually some of the worst.

    • Paddock Evacuator

      Hi Zach, if we can assist with the air quality please let us know. There is a huge challenge in measuring airborne chloramine level as there is no quick, reliable testing equipment. Once that is developed, it would certainly ruffle a lot of feathers.

  22. Shelly Sall

    Water quality and air quality go hand-in-hand! Laws need to be changed to enforce proper water quality. Current test requirements/limits do not even measure the harmful bi-products in pool water and “janitors” are not qualified to handle pool water quality maintenance.

    • Paddock Evacuator

      We brought in a CPO trainer to certify our staff and even that seems like it may not be enough to run a pool at a very high level. Crazy to think some pool operators don’t even have that training…

    • Shelly Sall

      CPO training is a great first “baby-step”; It’s just a piece of paper. The DEQ needs to change the laws and States and Counties NEED to comply. It’s a complex environment in which unfortunately nothing will change until the laws change.

  23. Nimet Murugan

    Huge problem at the big meets. Burning eyes, rashes, coughing, trouble breathing and nasea for some.

    • Paddock Evacuator

      Hi Nimet, please let us know if we can assist in any way!

  24. Betsy Harrison

    This was very informative. I know one swimmer that has had a very bad time at JR Nats EVERY time it is held at an indoor facility. This past Jrs she had to have a breathing treatment from the onsite Dr.

    • avatar
      Coach JB

      Was she at Texas or Ohio Jrs?

    • Paddock Evacuator

      Hi Betsy, after the event described in the article, GAC worked with us to address the problem. Currently, feedback regarding their air quality is excellent. We’d appreciate any feedback you may be able to provide as to how we can better help indoor facilities 🙂

    • Betsy Harrison

      Paddock Evacuator if I had the answer to that I’d be rich! LOL. someone will figure it out someday.

  25. Jean Howard McCormack

    Our son developed breathing issues while doing Winter swim at Providence Rec Center in Virginia. His coach accused him of being a slacker instead or recognizing the issue with chlorine. I am glad that this is finally being addressed 20 years after our concerns !

    • Paddock Evacuator

      Jean, we are sorry to hear about your son’s respiratory problems. If we can assist in any way don’t hesitate to reach out.

  26. Kelly Thomas

    Go Shelly go!
    You know it!

  27. Zak

    hah. Yeah. That time I couldn’t open my eyes at Zones and a week later GCIT was shut down

  28. avatar
    Mary-Helen

    I swim indoors almost all the time because, for example, the outside temperature right now is -40 with the wind chill. It doesn’t smell of chlorine. It’s a saline system of some sort. Luckily, I’ve never had the respiratory issues so many people are referencing.

  29. avatar
    Grace

    Just happened to my daughter on Tuesday poor air quality. She walk on deck and broke out in hives and her face was all red and starting to swell.
    I took her out of her meet that night. And to the ER

  30. avatar
    George Villarreal

    I direct the Jenks Trojan Aquatic Center, which is the site of the first installed Evacuator unit (the first pool in which it was installed during construction). I can say without a doubt that this is THE most important advance in pool technology in the last several decades. We have hosted 5 Sectional meets, as well as a few dozen other meets, including LSC and State HS meets. The proof is in the performance. We had only one instance in which the unit was not fully functional (it was at 50% in 2015 for sectionals) and the results were dramatic. With a fully operational system, we’ve had 300-400 swimmers in the water at once for warmup, and there’s little if any chloramine in the air. Once warmup is over, the very last remnants of any bad air are gone, and it’s like swimming outdoors on top of a hill with a slight breeze. On the one instance with 50% functionality, we were still better than any other competitive facility in the region.

    The hardest tests for the system are during the Regional and State HS championships. Class 5a, with 350 swimmers, will swim in the morning prelims on the first day, with another set of unique swimmmers from 6a in their prelims in the afternoon. That’s over 650 unshowered swimmers in one day, split into shifts, all probably peeing in the pool, which has a warmup section on one half. With a filtration turnover of 6 hours, it’s likely that much of the pool water does not hit the UV lights during the competition schedule, so there’s lots of sweaty pee water blasting off chloramines. Even then, the air quality is the best anyone has ever seen.

    Early on, I tested the system under a heavy load. I turned off the uv lights for a week, and still the air quality was pristine.

    Best technology out there, bar none.

    • avatar
      Robert Burrows

      George,
      Two questions, what is your combined reading during these peak use events and what is a ball park cost for a system like this?
      Thanks,
      Robert

      • avatar
        George Villarreal

        I have taken combined readings only a very few times. At the very height of a full warm-up session on the second day of a four-day meet, when almost all of the swimmers in a meet have warmed up, and we’d expect the chloramine level to be highest, I have recorded levels in the .1-.2 range, which would normally kick up a huge stinking cloud. The Evacuator got rid of the gasses even then. After an overnight, in which the pool would have almost 2 turnovers, the numbers we back to zero, due to the UV. The key here is LOWERING free available chlorine to 1.0 to lessen the amount that can be combined, and lowering the pH to about 7.3, which increases the sanitizing ability to an ORP of about 810. The key is to trust that the UV will kill everything overnight that is not killed by the high ORP during the day.

        I don’t know what the Evacuator costs. Each facility is unique.

  31. avatar
    Rick

    My daughter who is now a collegiate swimmer suffers badly from chlorine cough, and as an official who works many NC pools I can assure you that Greensboro aquatic Center addressed its air quality problems even during the Junior Nats of 3 years ago.
    By far the best air quality of any pool I have worked in last few years.
    So to mention the GAC as a bad example is not very truthful.

    I have wondered for some time of the long term effects of exposure , after all chlorine gas destroyed soldiers lungs during the Great War.

  32. Melissa Arps

    My daughter has been competitively swimming and was recently diagnosed with asthma due to poor air quality

    • Paddock Evacuator

      Melissa, we are sorry to hear about your daughter’s respiratory problems. If we can assist in any way don’t hesitate to reach out.

  33. Rich Davis

    Firstly this problem may make FINA consider the use of salt pools for competition.
    Secondly, unfortunately even here in Canada there is only one city, Pointe Claire in Montreal that I am aware of that utilises the full capability of their sports arenas. They are able to heat their pools, water & air (10 lane 50m, 6 lane 50m & 6 lane 25yd) via heat exchangers on their hockey rinks. They are also the only facility I am aware of that doesn’t recycle its air to a great extent. When I talked to the town manager he said that they have found it economically better to not instal dehumidifiers (which need to be replaced every 10 years on average) and to use 95% heated fresh air in a system that is designed to expel as much of the chlorinated air as possible due to the concerns raised in this article. This is also not a new initiative on their part, they have been doing it for many years. Unfortunately, the information is hard to find and most towns such as mine are completely clueless and have not contacted Pointe Claire for information even though I have asked them to on many occasions over the past 16 years.

    • Mike Lewellyn

      FINA is not going to do anything unless they are bribed to do so!

    • avatar
      George Villarreal

      Salt pools still use chlorine as a sanitizer (NaCl). That means there will still be chloramines in salt pools.

    • Rich Davis

      Mike Lewellyn it is my understanding that FINA have developed a ‘cheaper’ pool design that is used/sold to poorer nations that uses a salt system due to its low maintenance, cheaper price to run than chemicals and less knowledge required by maintenance staff than a chemical pool.
      The only problem being what happens to the record books? That said FINA didn’t seem to care after they belatedly dumped the ‘cheating suits’ of 2009 where some phenomenal textile suit WR’s were broken such as the men’s 400fr by Thorpe that no one can come close to, even today.

  34. Sylvia Begley

    Daniela – we talked about this a while ago

  35. avatar
    Dan

    I prefer a little more science and fact in my articles than this one provides. For instance, give me some Chemist’s opinions on this whole issue instead of several different employees of a company claiming to combat the effects of chlorine on swimmers.

    Having said that, yes I’ve been in pools with air quality issues, it’s not fun. However, I would think that there is a lot more to this than simply swimmers showering and not peeing in the pool. Let’s see some studies on proper filtration systems focused on the water and the air. Based on improvements the Greensboro pool has made I would say we can fix this without trying to depend on children (and to a lesser degree adults) to “do the right thing” (hint hint, they won’t).

  36. Mike Lewellyn

    Folks have been bitching about this for decades. this is so old news. The air at Missouri has been bad since they built it. Same with Greensboro and A&M and so many others. the problem is that the designers don’t build the places to deal with 1100 swimmers and their families. They built them for day to day use. Small meets at Missouri and Greensboro do not have air problems.

  37. Alexandra Castro

    Tere Rebollar y a mi no me creían que no podía respirar ?

  38. Marj Dickmann

    My son suffered from chemical reactive asthma from the age of 7 til his last meet at the age of 18. I can’t tell you the number of kids using inhalers, as mine did just to get through a practice or meet. Better ventilation designs need to happen as we’d all know the vapor with the most chlorine hovers over the water where breathing occurs. Thank God for pulmonologists

    • Paddock Evacuator

      Hi Marj, we completely agree. Unfortunately we hear stories like your son’s every week. Check out our page, we’d love any feedback for how we can better improve air quality for swimmers.

  39. avatar
    Bran

    Wait, did you really just claim that air quality in swimming facilities – a problem that affects less than 0.01% of Americans – is one of the most underrated issues IN OUR NATION?

    Are you joking?

    • avatar
      heather

      I noticed that too… there needs to be a in our SWIMMING nation in the title… cause yeah.. as much as it bothers me and my swimmers — I think the nation is definitely facing greater problems than that!

  40. avatar
    Vicki Marsh

    It’s sad when we have to drug up with Claritin before a three day competition to not be affected by the chlorine and bad air quality. I am a coach and a official and live at the pool. Fresh air helps but pools need to take an active stance and go saline! My health and everyone’s health is affected by this and thank you for the article addressing this issue!!

    • Paddock Evacuator

      Hi Heather! We have a multiple Evacuator systems installed at GAC, so we would love your feedback – how is the air quality in your experience? Thanks!

    • Heather Kyles Watson

      Paddock Evacuator my son swims there every morning and for most of his meets. No problems for him so far! We ? GAC!

  41. Mary Palmieri

    They need to put a chemical in the water that turns bright red when anyone pees!!! then the offender would be obvious and called out!

    • avatar
      Travis

      Then the pool would always be red. Urea is not just found in pee but also in sweat, and while you can’t tell you sweat a lot while swimming in a pool.

  42. Peter C Barry

    It’s poor pool management. CPO/directors are not operating the air systems correctly. It’s about budget not health.

    • avatar
      Travis

      Oh no, it can be stupidity too, not just budget. My college installed a new air circulating system that only added air to the pool area and forced the bad air into the rest of the building, and for a while it was without heat. I kid you not, the cold air from Wisconsin winters mixing with moist air in the pool would cause fog to a point you could not see the width of the pool, and more than once cause it to snow inside.

  43. avatar
    Ted Caron

    The french word for pool is
    piscine

  44. avatar
    H

    If peeing in the pool and not showering prior to using the pool is the problem, then why is the chlorine use in an outdoor pool not causing the same problems? Isn’t it obviously the difference in indoor filtering and ventilation; rather than the pee in the pool?

    • avatar
      Travis

      The same reactions to pee occur, but outdoors has two advantages. First is free ventilation, the air is always moving and giving fresh air. The second is the sun outputs UV, which breaks down the chloramines.

  45. avatar

    Chloramines are a result of there not being enough free active chlorine in the pool to address the current demand placed on it by swimmers. When this occurs the process of oxidation can not be fully completed in the water and chlorination by-products (chloramines) are left behind. As swimmers agitate the water these volatile compounds go airborne and linger on the water’s surface. This condition is often compounded by operating system and building design shortcomings. There are many treatments and systems on the market designed to remediate or remove formed chloramines, but the solution to controlling them is in preventing their formation.

  46. Jamie Samide

    First world problems

  47. avatar

    The Industry IS paying attention to the issue.

    Let me start by telling you that UV Sanitation is limited to the water flowing through it… because of this, facilities that are mentioned in this article, who HAVE UV in place, still have issues.

    The underlying problem is a fundamental one: if you smell it, you’re not getting the chlorine in the pool Fast enough.

    HIGH CAPACITY FEED CHLORINATION (HCF) has proven that you can reduce chloramines by getting the chlorine in the pool fast enough to meet the organic demand… yes, typical chlorine systems are UNDERSIZED.

    If your pool is suffering from the air quality issues, LOOK FOR AN HCF EXPERT!!!

    • avatar
      George Villarreal

      What does chlorine do when it meets nitrogen-based compounds? Forms chloramines that precipitate out as mono-, di-, or tri-chloramines. No matter how fast the chlorine is delivered, it will still react. A 50m pool with 600+ swimmers warming up over a period of 90 minutes is going to be loaded with ammonia from sweat and urine. What does the speed of delivery have to do with this? All you’d be doing is introducing more chlorine to be combined more quickly.

      The assumption should be that chloramines will be formed, no matter what. UV will only destroy chloramines it “sees” in water that passes the lamps once every turn-over. Otherwise, chloramines precipitate out to the air above the surface of the pool, where it either builds upon previous layers, or gets expelled (as in an outdoor pool or one with an Evacuator).

      For indoor pools: assure that the Oxidative-Reductive Potential (ORP) is as high as it can be with the least amount of chlorine. Try 1.0 with a pH of 7.3-.4 That will kill microorganisms in less than 30 seconds. Remove as much bad air as possible at the water surface. Give that system an assist in real time with UV, and have a 6-8 hour period overnight where any remaining chloramines are oxidized by chlorine or UV, as well as filtered away. Barring that, the only way to get rid of the problem is replacing the entire volume of water with clean water, or the entire volume of air with new air…which is what a good system does, starting at the pool surface. “The solution to pollution is dilution..”

  48. Swim Giggles LLC

    Ok, so really, DO NOT pee in the pool!

    • avatar
      Clemente Rivera

      I disagree. To correct Air quality, the water has to be corrected… because that’s where the chloramines are coming from.

      GAC has not resolved its issues. They still fight with air quality issues.

      I, in the other hand have successfully mitigated di and Tri chloramines in pools utilizing my HCF approach.

      Getting to the bottom of the chloramines issue is about PROPER SIZING OF YOUR SANITATION SYSTEM; i have found that the GRAND MAJORITY of facilities are grossly undersized… and when corrected, the issue is corrected.

      SIZING of Sanitation Feeders, proper programming of Water Quality Controllers to increase feeds during busy periods to lower chloramines, and THEN, ensuring that your AIR handling system is working properly, will greatly improve air quality and reduce health concerns. My work in NYC with Various facilities has successfully proven these claims and I stand by them with a 100% guarantee on my equipment and expertise… if I can make your pool a more enjoyable experience by rendering your chloramines to the odorless monochloramine type, and reduce the smell and eye burn associated with di and Tri Chloramines, I’ll take back the equipment after 30 days.

      Find me a pool in your area and I’ll work out the trial parameters for you.

  49. avatar
    Toby

    This may well be true but is also a puff piece for swim spray and probably lifted verbatim from their website
    I didn’t see any declaration of interest

    Easiest answer – stop pissing in the pool!
    Why the hell do you have to be “educated’ about that?

  50. avatar
    Brittany Buchanan

    Question anyone ever have massive reaction such a sad eye clamping shut and massive head Ech to the point thy get physically ill my dad just had to stop coaching and the only thing docs can think of is chlorine because he gets worst when in chlorine they can’t fix his eye either I think the two are related anyone with help suggestions please let me know