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We know most people pee in the pool, we just don’t know how much…If you’ve ever wondered just how gross your pool is, read on to find out!
We did the math to determine just how much urine is in a hot tub, a small pool and an Olympic-sized swimming pool.
How to Measure the Amount of Pee in a Swimming Pool
To find out how much pee is in a pool, we need to take a scientific approach.
We’ll take a water sample and determine the amount of artificial sweetener in it, specifically acesulfame potassium. This sweetener is in a lot of the food we eat, and because our bodies can’t break it down, we end up peeing it out.
Using a liquid chromatography instrument called a mass spectrometer, we can detect acesulfame potassium molecules in our water sample. Based on these results, we can extrapolate to figure out how much pee is in the entire pool.
For an in-depth breakdown of all of these calculations, check out Mark Rober’s video on YouTube.
Why Chlorine is in the Pool
You might be wondering…if there’s still pee in the pool, does chlorine actually do anything? The short answer is yes.
Chlorine breaks down harmful bacteria in the water that can make you sick, and keeps the water clean.
But when we pee in the pool, chlorine reacts to our urine to create trichloramine, which is what causes the chlorine smell that so many pools have. This reaction is also responsible for eye irritation and redness, and even some breathing issues people experience at the pool.
So, now you know…if your pool smells like chlorine, lots of people are peeing in it. Pretty gross, huh?
Calculating How Much Pee is in Your Pool
If you’re curious to know how much urine is in your pool, we calculated a few averages for pools of different sizes:
- 103 nanograms of pee per liter of water
- 1 gallon of pee
Small Recreational Pool (Backyard or Community Pool)
- 470 nanograms of pee per liter of water
- 13 gallons of pee
Olympic-Sized Pool (50m)
- 100+ gallons of pee
How to Calculate the Amount of Pee in Your Pool
Swimmers introduce an average of 25-80 milliliters of urine into the pool per swim workout. To calculate how much pee is in the pool, use the following equation:
# of Swimmers in the Pool Per Day X 1.2 = # of Gallons of Pee in the Pool
Let’s see how much pee a 200-person swim team would introduce to an Olympic-sized pool.
Since swimmers are in the pool for hours at a time (much longer than the average person), they might pee even more than the average, so we’re going to increase our 1.2 constant variable to 1.5.
200 swimmers X 1.5 = 300 Gallons of Pee
The average Olympic-sized pool contains about 600,000 gallons of water or more, which means the pool has a 0.05% concentration of pee. That’s about one part per 2,000.
If the pool is well-maintained, the water will be clean and free of harmful bacteria. But you’ll still experience a bit of eye irritation from the trichloramine.
Don’t let this information deter you from going for a swim in a public pool. It’s perfectly safe to swim in a pool that has pee in it. If you’re grossed out, don’t add to the mix and avoid peeing in the pool yourself. Head to the bathroom instead!
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Let us know what you think in the comments! Do you pee in the pool?