Most people would certainly think that taking a pee in the pool is gross, and who can disagree with them. It does happen though, perhaps more often than you may think, particularly with small children. So what does that mean for the water quality and what should be done to counter it, if anything?
Peeing in the pool might sound relatively harmless, particularly as a pool has chlorine and filters to keep the water clean, and after all, it is mostly water anyway isn’t it! But it is definitely not a good idea as urine can react with chlorine to produce unpleasant chemical compounds such as chloramines and also reduce the amount of chlorine in the pool that is available to deal with any germs and other contaminants.
For many years it was always believed that urine in healthy people is completely sterile but scientists have now shown that to be a myth. Urine normally does contain bacteria so urine is not sterile after all.
Does chlorine kill pee germs?
Chlorine does a good job of killing any germs that may exist in urine, which is good news. However, chlorine gets used up quickly dealing with urine so the chlorine levels will fall leaving less available to deal with other bacteria.
The not so good news is that urine and chlorine can react together to produce trichloramine and cyanogen chloride, both of which can be inhaled by bathers and in some circumstances can cause problems.
Advice from the CDC
The CDC state “Pee in the toilet, not in the pool! When people pee in the pool, it leaves less chlorine available to kill germs. Learn more: https://go.usa.gov/xmkFK.”
Does peeing in the pool turn the water blue?
Many people seem to believe that, particularly in public pools, a chemical is in the water which will turn blue or some other color to show that a person is urinating.
The reality is that no such chemical is used, or exists. But the myth is a good one as it must prevent some from peeing in the pool who would otherwise do it.
How can you prevent kids peeing in the pool
Children are probably the biggest culprits when it comes to peeing in the pool. Babies in the pool can also be a problem but there is little you can do about that. There are a number of things you can do to try and prevent them from doing it, all of it is common sense:
- Before children go in the pool get them to visit the bathroom
- Children can often play in a pool for hours so every so often get them out to revisit the bathroom, particularly if they have drinks on the go as well if it is hot
- Try to educate them – not always easy of course
- Buy one or more of the signs below to remind them (and anyone else using the pool)
Pool pee signs
There are a number of humorous pool signs designed to make people aware that they shouldn’t pee in the pool. This is small selection:
Can you tell if someone peed in the pool?
There is no easy way to tell if this has happened unfortunately except of you can actually smell that “public pool chlorine smell” which will probably be the chlorine reacting with urine and producing trichloramine.
To actually find out requires thorough testing to establish which is obviously outside the capabilities of home pool owners.
You may find this video interesting about testing how much there might be in a pool:
Why do people feel the need to pee in a pool?
There are two probable reasons why after people have been in a pool for a while that they feel the need to pee, even if they went just before getting in.
- When we get in the water the body feels that it is weightless. When this happens blood moves out of the legs and arms into the chest area. This has the effect of telling your kidneys to get rid of excess water in the blood which it does by producing more urine.
- If the pool is cold, or at least cool, then your body constricts your blood vessels in order to try to keep your vital organs warm in a process called “cold diuresis”. This increases your blood pressure which your body then reacts to by your kidneys removing some of the liquid in your blood in the form of urine so your bladder fills quickly.