Nov 03, 2011

Half of U.S. Swimming Pools Tested Had Improper pH and Chlorine Levels

Healthy Pools campaign releases results of summer testing, finds pH levels outside recommended range

About half of 1,500 swimming pools tested this summer showed improper pool chemistry, according to results from the 2011 Healthy Pools campaign, sponsored by the Water Quality and Health Council (WQHC). In partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), WQHC helps promote the goal of healthy swimming in healthy pools.

Throughout the campaign, swimmers from around the country ordered free test kits and checked their swimming pool water for proper pH and chlorine levels. With a contribution from Hach Co., more than 32,000 test kits were ordered and 1,500 swimmers uploaded their results to the Healthy Pools campaign website.

Results showed that 47% of pools had a pH outside the recommended range of 7.2 to 7.8, and 54% had free chlorine values outside the recommended range of 1 to 3 ppm. The majority of data (78%) were submitted by backyard pool owners, pointing to a need for better public education on proper pool chemistry. Data were also submitted by swimmers at community adult pools (18%), community “kiddie” pools (3%) and hotel/motel pools (1%).

According to CDC, chlorine and pH represent the front line of defense against waterborne illnesses. Routine chlorination kills harmful microorganisms that can cause health-related problems such as gastroenteritis and swimmer's ear.

WQHC recommends that concerned pool owners or users dip test strips into the water to check pH and chlorine levels. More information on pools and swimming is available at: