Definition and quantification of initial anthropogenic pollutant release in swimming pools

Water Res. 2012 Jul;46(11):3682-92. doi: 10.1016/j.watres.2012.04.012. Epub 2012 Apr 17.


Pollutants, brought into a swimming pool by bathers, will react with chlorine to form disinfection by-products (DBPs). Some of these DBPs are found to be respiratory and ocular irritant and might be associated with asthma, or might even be carcinogenic. As DBPs in swimming pools are formed from bather-shed-pollutants, a reduction of these pollutants will lead to a reduction of DBPs. Until now, however, the release of pollutants by bathers has not been studied in detail. The study described in this paper focuses on the release of these pollutants, further called anthropogenic pollutants. The objective was to define and quantify the initial anthropogenic pollutants, by using a standardised shower cabin and a standardised showering protocol in laboratory time-series experiments and on-site experiments in swimming pools. The time-series experiments resulted in a definition of the initial anthropogenic pollutant release: the amount of pollutants released from a person in a standardised shower cabin during the first 60 s of showering. The data from the time-series experiments were used to create a model of pollutant release. The model can be used to predict the initial anthropogenic pollutant release as well as the effects of showering. On-site experiments were performed at four different swimming pools, including one outdoor pool. Results of these on-site showering experiments correspond with the time-series and model outcomes. Anthropogenic pollutant release (both chemical and microbiological) in swimming pool water can be reduced by pre-swim showering, very likely resulting in decreased DBPs formation and chlorine demand.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Child
  • Disinfection / methods
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Swimming Pools*
  • Water / analysis
  • Water Microbiology
  • Water Pollutants, Chemical / analysis*
  • Young Adult


  • Water Pollutants, Chemical
  • Water