How Much Wee Is In Our Swimming Pools? Scientists Reveal The Truth

Hint: It's MUCH worse than you think.

Peeing in a swimming pool happens. Whether we like it to or not it seems to be one of those social acts that people think they can get away with.

The question is of course, just how often does it happen? Well scientists have come up with a test that finally gives us the answer and well, you’re not going to like it.

Jacob Ammentorp Lund via Getty Images

Lindsay K. Jmaiff Blackstock and her colleagues at the University of Alberta, Canada, have discovered just how much urine actually resides within our swimming pools and honestly, it’s a lot more than we thought.

In a large swimming pool (around a third of an Olympic swimming pool) the team discovered around 75 litres of urine present.

Lets just repeat that again, 75 litres of urine.

To get this rather disturbing result the team came up with a simple water test which measures the amount of artificial sweetener that resides within the pool.

Why artificial sweetener? Well you’ll be pleased to hear that many processed foods contain acesulfame-K (ACE) and that it completely passes through the body before being excreted in your urine.

To make sure their results were fair the team analysed the water of some 31 pools and hot tubs in their local area taking a grand total of 250 samples.

Arand via Getty Images

As the paper points out, the level of urine is 570 times greater than that found in tap water.

If you think a hot tub is in any way safer than think again, the team found considerably higher quantities of urine in hot tubs and in one case a sample returned results that were twice that of any they’d previously collected.

So why do we need to worry about urine in our pools? Well even though it is sterile urine still contains many nitrogenous compounds including urea, ammonia, amino acids and creatinine.

The hope is that this study will highlight (and we think it has) the need for better hygiene management when it comes to public swimming pools and hot tubs.

After seeing their paper, we couldn’t agree more.


What's Hot