Pool water irritation- pee, not chlorine?

I have been reading articles in the local paper about the poor state of public pools in San Jose. One article mentioned pool sanitation, and mentioned that properly maintained chlorinated pools shouldn’t irritate the eyes/nose when you stick your head in the water. They said the irritation comes from chlorine bonding with sweat/urine in the water. :eek:

Is this true? I always thought it was common sense to shower beforehand and not treat a pool like a gigantic toilet. But attributing that stuff to the irritating sensation some pools give my eyes? eurrgh.

When a new swimming pool opened in my town a few years ago, I was waiting outside on the first morning it opened. I was the second member of the public ever to swim in that particular pool, and my eyes stung. I very much doubt anyone had been peeing in the pool before it opened.

Chlorine, even the slightest amount, creates weak HCl in a swimming pool. This is what makes your eyes burn, etc. The papers don’t understand that water has free hydrogen ions which are readily grabbed up by Cl ions in the chlorine.

FYI: In short, water is not all H2O; Chlorine is not all Cl2.

  • Jinx

Clearing the Air: Chloramine Control for Indoor Swimming Pools

When I worked for a sports complex we only “Shocked” the pool when some kid dropped a turd in the water. We had to evacuate the pool, scoop up the shit, and dump extra chemicals into the water. If this happend on a Saturday afternoon, say, the pool would be closed for up to three hours (or thereabouts) and cost us a lot of revenue.
Usually the perp (or pooper) was singled out by peers and 86’d for the rest of the day. (and totally embarrased!) :slight_smile:

And people wonder why I have no desire to swim in a public pool. <insert barfing smiley here>

Folks who spend a lot of time in pools can protect against eye irritation by putting a drop of mineral oil in each eye before swimming.

Does “shock the pool” mean dumping in a lot of freshwater after the bonded chlorine levels have gone up?

I would advise against higher levels of free chlorine, because a part of the gas will dissolve away into the air to chloramines, which cause the chlorine smell. Better to put enough freshwater in and keep the pH levels right (which also influences the chlorine).

As to the OPs question: Yes, people should shower before they go into the pool, and they shouldn’t pee into the pool; but people being people, some don’t, and some do (respectivly). Esp. kiddies will do the later due to bad bladder control and the belief that “nobody will notice/see”, so if you want cleaner water, go into the adult pool (if there are two seperate ones).
But even if only a few swimmers are around, chlorine reacts with other organic compounds, too, like skin cells and hairs and whatnot, so there will always be bonded chlorine (the part that stings). That’s why they put the chlorine in in the first place - to sanitze by bonding the stuff. If the pool is properly maintained by adding freshwater to keep the level low enough, your eyes shouldn’t burn, however. (And I have experienced that my eyes burn less over the last decades because stricter regulations have lowered the allowed levels.)

If it’s a problem, and you can’t talk to the pool owner/ manager, I’d recommend swimming goggles.

I may be paranoid about this, because I’ve only got one eye, but I’d make sure the mineral oil I was using was certified for opthalmic use before I put it into my eye. As you people probably have auxiliaries, use our own judgement.

I may be paranoid about this, because I’ve only got one eye, but I’d make sure the mineral oil I was using was certified for opthalmic use before I put it into my eye. As you people probably have auxiliaries, use your own judgement.

That’s what all the swim team guys used when I was in high school (class of 1967.) I can understand your caution, though. (I suppose a winky-smilie would be in bad taste in this case.)

Sure, bad taste, but hugely funny. :wink:

When my friend Kyle wanted to open up the pool in his backyard for the summer, we had to go to the pool store and buy shock. My guess is that it is highly concentrated chemicals used to clean a pool. A pool sitting dormant for 9 months or one with a turd in it obviously needs serious cleaning to be safe.