Swimming pools and the story of chloramines!

by Aadarsh Jain

Swimming pools and the story of chloramines!

May 21, 2021

A scent of pool water, which is also characterised as having a chlorine odour, will attract the attention of summer fun. "Pool scent," on the other hand, can irritate swimmers' eyes, lungs, and skin if it is intense enough.

Chloramines, organic compounds that build up in pool water when it is handled poorly, are to blame for the odour.

Chloramines are formed as two ingredients combine: (a) chlorine disinfectants and (b) perspiration, oils, and urine that join pools on swimmers’ bodies. Chlorine disinfectants are used to kill germs that can cause diarrhoea, earaches, and athlete’s foot in swimmers. Sweat, oils, and faeces, on the other hand, are unwelcome additives to pool water. Swimmers can help reduce pool odour by showering before hitting the pool and wiping these chemicals off their hands.

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Chloramines, organic compounds that build up in pool water when it is handled poorly, are to blame for the odour.

The Chloramines

Chlorine disinfectants are applied to water, two chemicals, hypochlorous acid, HOCl, and hypochlorite ion, OCl-, are released, both of which kill waterborne germs. “Free usable chlorine,” or FAC, is an indicator of the chlorine content of these two chemicals. For the welfare of swimmers, pool owners regulate the FAC level in the pool water. FAC is depleted as it mixes with perspiration, liquids, and urine from swimmers to form chloramines, which poses a problem for them. The reaction of hypochlorous acid with ammonia is one way that chloramines are produced in pool water. Sweat and urine contain the gas ammonia (NH3). The diagram on the right depicts its chemical composition.

Monochloramine is often applied to water on purpose because it is a good disinfectant. Monochloramine, for example, is often used to purify drinking water. The chloramines most notorious for pool odour are dichloramine and, in particular, trichloramine. Swimmers will reduce the formation of these two chloramines by showering before joining the water.

How To Treat Pool Smell

“There is so much chlorine in the water,” swimmers with reddened, angry eyes have been known to say. In reality, when pool water is irritating, it’s because there isn’t enough chlorine in it!

You might be shocked to find that a well maintained pool has no odour. Chlorine should be used to remove chloramines, which cause pool odour. The process of applying additional chlorine to pools to destroy ammonia and the organic compounds that react with chlorine to form chloramines is known as “shock therapy” or “superchlorination.” The pool water FAC concentration must be around ten times the CAC to successfully kill chloramines by shock therapy.

A pool that smells of bleach, burns their skin, and irritates their eyes is what no one wants. To have a pool that you will really enjoy, you must maintain it on a regular basis and provide it with the required oxidation.

Ignore the steps above and keep an eye on your pool’s pH balance to ensure it doesn’t have a heavy chemical odour. And, most importantly, don’t forget to drink your odourless, fresh water!


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