Swimming came under the glare of the world’s media last month following a report about the alarming amount of urine found in pool water. Researchers from Alberta University had measured concentrations of an artificial sweetener in 31 pools in two Canadian cities. As it is all excreted and is stable, they were able to say that all the pools had been peed in. One swimming pool, which was about a third the size of an Olympic-sized pool, had an astonishing 75 litres – 132 pints – of urine, while a smaller pool had 30 litres.
Following the report, the global pool industry was quick to reassure swimmers. “The publicity around the subject reflects both how important healthy swimming is for the public, and how sketchy public understanding is of pool science,” said a spokesperson for the Pool Water Treatment Advisor Group (PWTAG). “Urine itself presents no health risk. Pools should be adding 30 litres of fresh water for every bather and that would have disposed of the sweetener.” In a statement, the National Swimming Pool Federation (NSPF) in the USA added: “Just because one report suggests we should fear urine in the pool, people of all ages should continue to enjoy the wonder of water.”