07.12.2019 change 07.12.2019

Dirt Buster! Silesian Water Specialist Proposes New Solution for Dealing With Urine, Sweat, and Oily Skin Secretions in Swimming Pools

Credit: Fotolia Credit: Fotolia

A scientist specialising in dirty swimming pool water has warned that the problem of water quality remains a serious challenge for researchers dealing with environmental health and new water purification technologies.

Dr. Edyta Łaskawiec from the Silesian University of Technology says that to deal with human sweat, urine and sebum, water disinfection installations should be modernized. 

She said: "Over 600 chemicals have been identified by scientists in pool water samples around the world. Urine, sweat, sebum, personal hygiene products, makeup residues and even substances present in bathing suits break down and then combine with chlorine residues to form new chemicals (disinfection by-products). These compounds not only are inhaled and swallowed while swimming, but because of their small size they also penetrate deep into our body through the skin and tissues.”

She added: "Disinfection by-products are a large and diverse group of contaminants that form as a result of the reaction of disinfectants with contaminants introduced by bathers. The confirmed harmfulness of disinfection by-products means that it is necessary to search for new solutions in the area of pool water purification.”

One solution, she suggests, could be introducing an additional process of nanofiltration.

In her doctoral dissertation "Extended assessment of pool water quality and the possibility of its recovery from post-process washings" this autumn, she found that there was “better water quality in facilities where zeolite fillings and sand and anthracite beds were used.”

Her analyses shows that nanofiltration is the most effective process for removing typical contaminants from pool water. "This is a pressure process that uses materials that act as sieves, with the ability to retain not only bacteria and viruses, but above all problematic organic compounds," she said. 

"It is important to properly prepare the water before it enters the membrane, because these are technologically advanced materials, ones that require careful protection that will ensure their long life. Hence, the operation of membrane modules is only possible in integrated systems, for example in combination with filtration through porous beds, which have previously been used in circulation systems," she added.

Part of her doctoral work was co-financed by the Ministry of Science and Higher Education.

PAP - Science in Poland, Agnieszka Kliks-Pudlik

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