Is It Ok To Pee In The Pool?

Swimmers of all ages have faced this situation at some point: While in the pool, should you leave and use the restroom or simply pee right there in the water? It's a question that sparks debates and divides pool-goers. Let's answer this question.

But first, let's all acknowledge that most people have probably peed in the pool at least once in their life. It's an undeniable fact. The reasons as to why you have done it, I don't know. Haha! But is it ok to pee in the pool?

The Science of Pee (Urine)

Let's define Urine: It is an eliminated solution from human body that is comprised of excess water, salts, and organic compounds. Urine is non-toxic, and contains less bacteria than tap water. And even if it has bacteria, chlorine in the pool takes care of it. So it should be safe to pee freely, right?

Well, the problem is not with the safety from bacteria, but rather from one of the main organic compounds found in urine, called Urea. Urea in pool turns into ammonia, which reacts with chlorine to create a toxic byproduct called Chloramine. Chloramine is responsible for volatile and distinct "chlorine odor". (Most regular pool-goers actually believe chlorine odor comes from the pool being heavily chlorinated, but it's actually the opposite. It means that the pool is not sanitized properly and needs more chlorine).

Safety Concerns

When there is excess chloramines in the pool, it causes red eyes, and itchy skin. It is potentially dangerous for small babies since their blood-brain barrier is not fully developed, and can cause neurotoxicity. It also makes the air quality corrosive and poor. That's why there are some properties surrounding the pool area whose air conditioners and other iron-based materials are corroded.

To sum it up, peeing in the pool isn't the end of the world, but it's not the right thing to do. If you're in your own pool, then small amount of urine may not cause harm. But in a public pool, this can lead to uncontrolled increase of chloramine. If you want to relieve yourself, try to minimize the impact. Additionally, use the restroom and shower before entering the pool to lower the contaminants.

For Pool Owners: How To Remove Chloramines In The Pool?

The best thing to do is to oxidize your pool and disinfect it completely by using a method called shock chlorination. As a rule of thumb, use dosage of 30ppm of chlorine concentration when using 70% or 90% Chlorine. Personally, I use Chlorine Dioxide, instead of chlorine. Just 5ppm is enough to remove all chloramines. It also removes biofilm, which is the root cause of urea turning into ammonia in the first place.

If you're using a sand filter, you can also put a layer of activated carbon to remove chloramines.

Additionally, for outdoor pools, there's a product called Active Summer Pool Protector which lowers the use of chlorine, and also creates additional powerful disinfectant which destroys chloramines using natural sunlight. Active Summer also removes pharmaceutical and chemical waste from the pool. Read more about Active Summer here.

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