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Got Chemistry?

Updated: Apr 6, 2020

Recently, I was at a hotel and asked where the pool was. The staff member told me the direction of the pool and then said, "You will smell it before you see it."

If you smell the pool before you see it, it is a good indicator there is an air quality issue directly related to your water chemistry. This "odour" is the result of chlorine mixing with the organics from bathers (people waste) in the water to create 'combined chlorine'. When there is movement of the water by bathers (splashing), water features or perhaps you are at a wave pool, the combined chlorines can leave the water and create something called 'chloramines' in the air. When the buildup is sufficient, we get the odour causing 'trichloramines'. The result is an unhealthy pool environment. There are several other contributing factors to bad air. This really is just one, and the one our industry is associated with. Whatever the source, this bad air affects the staff, the swimmers, and costs your facilty money as the HVAC and any metal equipment in the area will degrade much more rapidly. Think about adding 10 years to your HVAC and getting 75% less complaints from customers. Yes, there is a benefit to good water chemistry and whether it is a public pool, hotel, resort or hospital, air quality is among the biggest challenges for the facilty owner and staff.

Some simple remedies:

* Ask Clear Aquatics about an evaluation of your water chemistry. We will look further into the root of what is causing the issues. It isn't just doing your daily tests.

* Drain water according to the bather load (how many bathers enter the pool daily). Ontario regs require 15L/bather per day, and so does the MAHC.

* Understand the pH of your water - pH is the most dominant feature of your disinfectant's effectiveness.

* Showers, showers, showers - there is a massive reduction in water quality issues by getting people to shower before and each time they enter the pool.

* And several others.

Want to know more about water chemistry? Send me an email at

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