The fate of chlorine and organic materials in swimming pools

Volume 51, Issue 9, June 2003, Pages 869-879

doi:10.1016/S0045-6535(03)00156-5How to Cite or Link Using DOI
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The fate of chlorine and organic materials in swimming pools

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S. J. JuddCorresponding Author Contact Information, E-mail The Corresponding Author and G. Bullock

School of Water Sciences, Cranfield University, Cranfield, Bedfordshire MK43 0AL, UK

Received 3 July 2002;

revised 29 January 2003;

accepted 30 January 2003. ;

Available online 3 April 2003.


The fate of organic nitrogen and carbon introduced into a swimming pool by pool users has been studied using a 2.2 m3 model pool. The study made use of a body fluid analogue (BFA), containing the primary endogenous organic amino compounds, and a soiling analogue represented by humic acid (HA). The system was used to examine the effect of organic loading and organic carbon (OC) sources (i.e. amino or HA) on the levels and speciation of the key chlorinated disinfection by-products of trihalomethanes (THMs) and chloramines under operating conditions representative of those employed on a full-scale pool.

Results revealed OC, chloramines and THMs to all attain steady-state levels after 200–500 h of operation, reflecting mineralisation of the dosed OC. Steady-state levels of OC were roughly linearly dependent on dose rate over the range of operational conditions investigated and, as with the chloramine levels recorded, were in reasonable agreement with those reported for full-scale pools. THM levels recorded were somewhat lower than those found in real pools, and were dependent on both on pH carbon source: the THM formation propensity for the soling analogue was around eight times than of the BFA. Of the assayed by-products, only nitrate was found to accumulate, accounting for 4–28% of the dosed amino nitrogen. Contrary to previous postulations based on the application of Henry’s Law, only insignificant amounts of the volatile by-products were found to be lost to the atmosphere.

Author Keywords: Swimming pools; Chlorination; Disinfection by-products; Trihalomethanes; Chloramines; Nitrate; Humic acid; Organic carbon

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Fig. 1. Effect of HA on THM generation: total THM generated per g of carbon.

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Fig. 2. Effect of HA, creatinine and bather load on nitrate accumulation rate.

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Fig. 3. Effect of adding HA to nitrate accumulation rate: BL=Bather load, HL=humic load, both as g/h C.

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Fig. 4. Influence of bather load on TOC equilibrium level.

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Fig. 5. Effect of pH on carbon accumulation rate.

Table 1. BFA formulation, adapted from Judd and Black (2000)

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Table 2. Reagents used

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Table 3. Water quality determinant measurement: instrumentation

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Table 4. Test pool design and operating parameter values

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Table 5. Test pool operating conditions

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Table 6. Comparison of pool data to that found in the literature

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Table 7. Results

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Table 8. Elemental mass balance

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Corresponding author. Tel.: +44-1234-754842; fax: +44-1234-751671

Volume 51, Issue 9, June 2003, Pages 869-879

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