Before diving into that pool, here’s a crash course to determine if a pool is indeed clean and safe

By Klyde Manansala | Photo by Neko Tai/Unsplash

While many pools use numerous chemicals to keep water pristine, a study from Center For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that only 20 percent of public swimming pools are free from health and safety hazards. The remaining 80 percent? Well, if they’re not contaminated by millions of bacteria, they probably contain excess chlorine, which also poses detrimental effects to your health. So before you cannonball into that pool, here are four signs that can help you determine if a pool really is clean and safe enough to dive in.

1. The Water Is Not Clear 

Start from the most discernible thing. If you’re staring down a pool and you don’t find it difficult seeing the bottom, it is probably clean. It’s a great sign, but it doesn’t give you assurance that it is impeccably germ-free. Either way, unless you see any color besides supposedly clear blue water such as the one in Vermosa Sports Hub, don’t even think about diving.

2. That Slimy Feeling

Dip your hands into the water or any pool equipment. If it feels slimy or oily to the touch, then it just simply means the chlorine poured into the pool isn’t actually working—enough reason to believe that it’s brimming with bacteria.

3. Pool Filters Are Not Working 

The pool filter is basically the heart of the swimming pool’s circulation system. The water dirt is filtered by the pool’s inlet pipe, and its purpose is to catch the tiny dirt and debris floating in the pool. If there’s no strong current of water hitting your body when you stand in front of circulations jets, then the filters are not working, leaving the pool stagnant where germs can freely reel around.

4. There’s a Strong Pool Smell

You’re probably thinking that the strong smell in pools are caused by excessive  chlorine. We hate to break it to you, but it’s not. That strong smell is chloramine—it’s watered-down chlorine, which is less effective and produces that smell when it reacts to sweat, urine, hair, or skin. In a survey, one out of five people admitted that they pee in public pools. Chloramines can also irritate the skin, eyes, and respiratory tract.

The Causes of a Dirty Pool and Its Health Hazards

Don’t get us wrong, chlorine is an effective cleaning agent as it can kill most microorganisms in less than a minute if the chlorine levels are high enough, but not all disease-causing germs can be killed by chlorine immediately. Among the Recreational Water illnesses (RWIs) that cause health risks is Cryptosporidium—the primary cause of diarrhea that can resist chlorine for more than a week.

However, too much chlorine also poses a huge threat to your body. Excess chlorine can cause difficulty in breathing and might burn sensitive skin, especially on children. When chlorine consolidates with human sweat and urine, chloramine is formed, which isn’t only present in pool water but also builds up in the air if there are no proper ventilations in the pool area.

We’re not telling you to necessarily refrain from taking a dip in public pools, it’s best to choose a pool that meets safety standards and adheres to strict guidelines. While it serves as one of our favorite recreational activities, taking precautions is just as important as enjoying your swim.