Last weekend, I walked into an aquatics facility with an indoor pool and was greeted by the heavy smell of chlorine in the air. This facility uses a salt pool system, and the chlorine smell (yes, salt pools are chlorinated) permeated beyond the pool room to the offices and shop attached.
Not long ago, I would have thought, “So, what? There’s a pool here. Of course it reeks of chlorine,” but I’ve since learned about disinfection byproducts.
That pool smell is not healthy
Chlorine has been the status quo for a long, long time, and the industry has accepted the stink that comes with it. But that is rapidly changing. Aquatics professionals, competitive swimmers, parents of swimmers, and recreational swimmers are becoming more concerned with the effect air quality can have on our health. In addition, more people are aware of chloramines and other disinfection byproducts and how they can harm us. Everyone has experienced the red eyes and dry skin that come with swimming in a chlorinated pool, but studies are also showing the impact chlorinate disinfection has on our lungs. Asthma, allergies and Lifeguard Lung are common ailments for people who spend a lot of time in or around the pool.
Improving pool air circulation only goes so far
There are a number of ways to improve air circulation to cycle air filled with disinfection byproducts out and fresh air into an indoor natatorium: a larger air system with greater capacity, an HVAC system, a makeup air system, strategic placement of ducts, and regular opening of windows and doors. While these options don’t solve the problem of chloramines, they can improve the air quality and reduce swimmer and staff exposure to these harmful compounds.
A real solution to the problem
While improving air circulation in an indoor pool will help, this isn’t tackling the problem at its source. With a hydroxyl-based advanced oxidation pool system, indoor pools — both residential and commercial — can:
- Reduce chlorine use
- Eliminate disinfection byproducts by 90 percent or more
- Improve air quality (and get rid of the pool smell)
- Protect staff and swimmers
Do you want to learn more? Read our case study on decreasing DBPs in a YMCA pool.