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What are Swimming Pool Contaminants?

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Pools being recreational have the potential to harbor one of the most troublesome swimming pool contaminants unbeknownst to the naked eye. It possesses the potential to be heavily contaminated by contiguous factors such as humans & the natural flora and fauna found within that body of water. Discover what these health threats are and learn how we can manage to maintain proper pool sanitation.

The Pool State of Mind


swimming pool contaminants freeRecreational Water
is a term coined for water found in swimming pools, hot tubs, lakes, fountains, rivers, springs, ponds and etc.

To most individuals, the usual first impression that comes into mind about pools will always be associated with the amusement and relaxation that came along with it.

To most, it is a great place to bring the whole family and crew to let some steam off.

In perspective, our time in the pools has brought about lot of positive and memorable experiences. That’s why then and there, pools will never cease to amaze that inner child in us.

Why don’t you try looking back in the past? You do know that you really relished those times in the pool albeit the unfortunate events such as drowning and other unfortunate accidents. Most of us will remember those first moments in the pool.

Remember that first dip? That first crack at trying to learn how to swim. How about learning to swim for the very first time? Just pure jubilation indeed in that moment that you managed to keep yourself afloat for the first time.

That is why, it should be brought into attention to each and every one of us pool lovers here that such a place of amusement & nostalgia is not without its flaws.

Honestly, worrying about pools having contaminants will be the last thing to pop up on our minds since we have been conditioned early on in our lives that pools are a place of fun. All thanks to the conditioned response being honed by positive experiences.

We cannot afford to downplay the risk of having swimming pool contaminants in our midst. We must think about the very consequences that these contaminants bring about.

They have the potential to be devastating and life threatening because it is in this very place of familiarity & fondness that we have let our guard down. This is not an attempt to scare you at all. Pools will always have a place in our hearts! This is just me trying to bring some insights into the situation and shed some light on it.

What are these Swimming Pool Contaminants?

red algae swimming pool contaminants
The Red Algae

Swimming pool contaminants can manifest in different varieties. Most originate from a multitude of factors involving the environment, nature’s own natural fauna & flora and even the human element itself is not exempt of the equation.

These have the potential to bring about harmful effects to unsuspecting swimmers. After all, most of us are gullible to situations presented within the shroud of familiarity and nostalgia.

Cited below are some of the possible pool contaminants along with the possible harmful effects & recreational water illnesses they bring about:

  1. Opportunistic Microorganisms such as:

    1. Escherichia Coli (Bacteria) – causes diarrhea, urinary tract infections, respiratory illnesses & pneumonia
    2. Shigella (Bacteria) – brings about Shigellosis which manifests thru diarrhea, fever & abdominal pain
    3. Campylobacter (Bacteria) – causes Campylobacteriosis which is also another diarrheal disease
    4. Salmonella (Bacteria) – causes diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps
    5. Cryptosporidium (Parasite) – can bring about watery diarrhea
    6. Giardia (Parasite) – brings about Giardiasis which too causes diarrhea & other gastro-intestinal symptoms
    7. Hepatitis A (Virus)
    8. Noroviruses (Virus) – causes viral gastroenteritis
    9. Algae – it’s known to be harmless to swimmers however, bacteria love to feed on algae and in the process help propagate bacterial growth in pools
  1. Dissolved Pollutants usually from Swimmers such as:

    1. Urine – its components (ammonia, water, urea, creatine, creatinine & amino acids) interact with pool disinfectants which result in the formation of disinfection byproducts
    2. Sweat – contains some byproducts found also in urine but in smaller concentrations
    3. Saliva
    4. Fecal Matter – may contain opportunistic pathogens like E. Coli
    5. Cosmetics, Lotions & Body Oil – may contain unwanted chemicals that can interact with pool disinfectants and also produce disinfection by products
  1. Chlorinated Disinfection By-Products such as:

    1. Halonitromethanes
    2. Haloacetonitriles
    3. Haloamides
    4. Halofuranones
    5. Iodoacetic acid
    6. Iodotrihalomethanes
    7. Nitrosamines

The common denominator among these disinfection by-products stated above is the alarming fact that most are carcinogenic and could contribute to numerous birth defects.

How are they Introduced?

Swimming pool contaminants are introduced into the body of water in a myriad of ways. It may be introduced by virtue of environmental factors wherein unwanted debris & dirt containing pathogens can be blown by the wind and into the pool which in turn contain bacteria & fungus.

The flora & fauna may also play a huge factor in introducing such pool contaminants. One great example comes in the form of bird droppings when birds swoop over the pool.

Excreta from vermin that lurk nearby is also another example. Such contains pathogenic micro-organisms, and to make things worse, these vermin usually emerge during the night time wherein pools are mostly unattended especially residential pools. Scary right?

Even rain water can bring about microscopic algae that cause harmful responses to the human body.

However, the most pressing way pool contaminants emerge in pools is thanks to swimmers.  No matter how great the potential for prevention is in this segment, the issue has been persistent for some time now.

The fact is that swimmers can easily bring about pool contaminants into the water through many unsuspecting ways such as waste body fluids (urine, saliva, sweat and etc.) fecal matter & the usual cosmetics and lotions.

To put it simply, swimmers with poor hygiene and sanitation just bring about more liabilities to the equation.

This is the reason why pool complexes have strict protocols for its swimmers to shower first, thus minimizing the spread of swimming pool contaminants.

swimming pool contaminants

What’s has been done so far?

No matter how grim the situation may look, the human mind has always found ways to make amends in order to be make circumstances more accommodating.

The same applies to pools. No matter how many problems may arise with regards to pool contaminants, experts have continuously innovated and adapted in order to meet these problems head on.

Looking back in the past, try thinking about the very first baths pioneered by the innovative Greeks. Then passed on to the Romans which were very great conquerors in their time thus spreading the idea of bath houses far and wide.

If you try to visualize that era, the only way they were able to meet decontamination standards were through heated pools & the primitive drain and fill regimen. Drain & Fill?

Just imagine the sheer amount of water in the gallons being expulsed day to day just to keep bath houses clean during those times, and to make things even worse, you can’t even be sure if that body of water is truly free from pool contaminants since there truly was no way to tell during that time.

Thankfully, due to the innovative minds of the American Swimming Pool Industry, massive technological advances have been made in the early 20th Century which has led to the forefront of modern pool decontamination technology.

It was in these numerous waves of innovation that bore fruit to premium technology of modern era water treatment such as chlorination and rapid-sand filters. The discovery of these two innovative technologies has had numerous implications ever since.

Over time, as the accessibility to pools increased, the interest associated with it also grew exponentially. As more and more swathes of people began to crowd public establishment pools, the presence of pool contaminants among pools has also seen a proportionally marked rise.

This was due to different kinds of swimmers crowding pools and at the time while no clear standard was still agreed on when it came to swimmer sanitation. Even the innovative chlorination technology was a grievance before as this was known to cause irritation to both the eyes and the skin of the swimmer.

After the number of cases afflicted by Recreational Water Illnesses increased due to pool contamination, standards were finally set with regards to swimmer sanitation.

Showers were introduced for the first time prior to swimming and appropriate swimming attire was ultimately agreed upon.

Along with this also came the concept of monitoring & manipulating both the PH levels & Chlorine concentration of pool water in order to help avoid irritating the skin of swimmers while at the same time keeping pool contaminants to the acceptable bare minimum thus hitting two birds with one stone in the process.

With modern technology, there are already various ways in maintaining the sanitation of our pools. From water filters to cistern cleaners, these paved the way for the rise of pool cleaning innovations.

The most convenient method as to date is the use of robotic pool cleaners. It acts as filter, sweeper, and debris collector, all in one intelligent machine. It uses advanced cleaning technology that targets even the smallest microorganisms ensuring swimming pool contaminants are taken care of at maximum level.

Final Verdict

Please shower before entering the swimming poolIf you truly think about it, pools just like us humans, has undergone through so many changes in its form, shape and function over the course of the millennia ever since its inception. However, through time, one thing has always stayed the same in us. What could it be? It’s quite actually simple. It’s that pure unadulterated love for pools. Just pure bliss indeed.

However, upon hearing about pool contaminants and recreational water illnesses, pools have gotten a lot scarier, right? It feels as if there is actually more than what we are actually seeing.

Fear not though as this has been proven from time and time again that humanity will always find a way to improve our living circumstances.

Innovations have and will always be made in the future and pools are not exempt in this reality. There will always be improvements in order to keep our pools safe for our own use and for the generations to come.

If we just follow the regulations set before us, then there shall be no problems! After all, who would want to go diving head first into a pool thinking about those disgusting swimming pool contaminants lurking within?

When you go bathe in your pool, enjoy! Just try to soak it all in and think about it as if it was your first time. Just sheer bliss and happiness indeed.

Gross Facts About Your Pool

Watch this fun (or scary) but informative video of BuzzFeedBlue about swimming pool contaminants as health threat to swimmers.

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