A recent study by researchers at Canada’s University of Alberta has been getting a lot of attention for revealing the average amount of urine present in community pools. The results are not pleasant: After testing two different-sized public pools over three weeks, researchers found that in a pool with 111,000 gallons of water, swimmers released 7.92 gallons of urine. In a larger pool of 220,000 gallons, they found 19.8 gallons of urine.
Doesn’t exactly make you want to jump right into the deep end, does it? But there are ways to combat this problem and allow people of all ages to enjoy your facility’s pool safely. According to the National Swimming Pool Foundation® (NSPF), a few simple changes by coaches, parents, and facility managers can reduce urine in the pool.
First, everyone from swim coaches to parents should encourage showers and bathroom breaks before entering the water. It is important to recognize that being submerged in water stimulates the body to create more urine.
Swim coaches should require a bathroom break 30-60 minutes into the practice. For example, it takes about 40 minutes in the water for a person to feel the need to urinate. A short break that borders this time frame will reduce peeing in the pool.
Parents who frequent water parks, public pools, or backyard pools should schedule an “out of pool” time for a snack, sunscreen, and a bathroom break every 30-60 minutes.
Facility managers should consider two ways to prevent pee in the pool. First, schedule short breaks to encourage people to exit the water. For example, a 10-minute “adult only” swim time or an out-of-pool activity every hour encourages people to exit the pool and use the bathroom. Second, post signage that suggests using the bathroom and showering before getting into the pool.
Despite the recent report, fear of urine in the pool should not prevent people of all ages from enjoying the benefits of swimming. Immersion and water activity has been found to reduce lower-back pain, blood pressure, and arthritis symptoms, and improve mental and physical health.