Learn to Swim Companion

A guide for parents and learners

Peeing in the pool – how much of a problem is it?

There is often lots of controversy around people peeing in swimming pools. Apparently everyone is doing it, but what’s the reality and does it have harmful consequences for swimmers?

Every year there is another story in the media about contaminated water at our local leisure centres, but how much of it is true?

A recent study by students at the University of Alberta in Canada found that in a study of 31 pools, every single one had traces of urine. However, in one of the pools, the amount of urine was estimated at 75 litres. Pretty serious, you ask?

Well, when you consider the other 829,925 litres were water, perhaps not all that bad after all.

The other thing to remember is that the water is purified using ultra-violet light and disinfected using chlorine. Chlorine combines with contaminates and remove any harmful effects, making it safe for everyone to enjoy the water.

What do pools do?

Swimming pools work really hard to make sure that the water stays safe throughout the day. They take samples from the pool to check chlorine levels and adjust as necessary.

They also lay out the pool in such a way that you are almost unable to get into the pool without passing a toilet first.

Jane Nickerson, ASA interim CEO, said: “Pool operators do a great job ensuring the water is kept clean and healthy for all swimmers to enjoy.

“Modern swimming pool designs ensure that toilets are adjacent to the pools to make it as easy as possible for swimmers to use. We would always encourage people to use the facilities before getting into the water.”

The vast majority of people don’t relieve themselves in the pool.

While the odd accident will always happen, the water we dive into at our local pool is safe, decontaminated and perfectly suitable for swimming.

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