Pools are Like Dogs

The reason for this “dog” analogy is because in many cases pools are like dogs! How good or how bad the pool is can depend on how the pool was managed from the beginning – right from the start of your ownership.

The care and feeding of your pool is important, so knowing the source of the water is important as well. Is the pool filled with soft or hard water? Is it well water of municipal water? What are the total dissolved solids (TDS)? Is the pool treated with chloramines?

Dogs are heavily influenced by their environment, just like pools. If every pool existed in a bubble, then they would be good all the time. However, the majority of pools are open systems that are subject to the environment and just about every possible scenario of contamination. Wind, rain, fires and sunshine are just a few of the elemental onslaughts that can quickly turn a good pool bad! Wind, for example, can blow organic contaminants, such as leaves, branches, and grasses into the pool that will consume the chlorine quickly.

I am convinced that most pools would stay nearly perfect if it was not for one thing: people get in them. Clean and pure as we might think we are, every human contributes millions of bacteria and waste to the pool when they take a plunge. Every hour, the average swimmer contributes to the pool two (2) pints of perspiration, which contains urea. Urea from perspiration, or directly from urine, combines with chlorine in your pool water to form tri-chloramine and can lead to an immediate lowering of free chlorine and as well as an increase in irritating chloramines. Add to that oil, hair and skin follicles, deodorants, lotions and soap residue, and you have a real concoction of contaminants.

To follow on with our canine analogy, consider that just one dog in a pool is equal to the contamination of 50 people! If you’re curious as to what the contamination of one person looks like, here it is:

  • 5 million organisms are shed with every hand washing
  • 38,000 microorganisms are released with the “clearing” of the nose
  • 100 million to 1 billion organisms are contained in one spit of saliva
  • On the average clean, showered person there remains 1/10 of a gram of fecal material

Multiply the above by 50 and you have the level of contamination from just one dog! So you can see that a pool with a large number of swimmers can turn a good pool bad very quickly. This is the main reason water needs to be managed with chlorine; chlorine compounds have the ability to quickly inactivate most bacteria and viruses.

Source article: Terry Arko