You are here

NCCEH Student Project Award 2014 - D Mah

The Effectiveness of Ozone-chlorine Treatment for Reducing Chloramine Concentration Compared to Chlorine Treatment in Swimming Pools and Whirlpools

D Mah, H Heacock
BC Institute of Technology: Environmental Health

Objectives: Chloramines are by-products of chlorine disinfected swimming pools and are hazardous to people if chloramines evaporate into the air. There is evidence that chloramines cause upper respiratory tract and eye irritation. It was suspected that ozone treatment in addition to chlorine disinfection will reduce chloramine levels in the pool. The following study compared chloramine concentration in a strictly chlorine disinfected swimming pool and whirlpool (C.G. Brown) in Burnaby, BC with an ozone-chlorine disinfected swimming pool and whirlpool (Killarney) in Vancouver, BC. The study also compared each pool and whirlpool to the 1.0 mg/L combined chlorine concentration limit in the B.C. Pool Regulation.

Methods: Chloramine concentrations were determined by using a Hach Pocket Colorimeter 2 Analysis System which used a DPD method of analysis. Chloramine was determined by subtracting total chlorine by the free chlorine. Thirty pool water samples were analyzed based on two samples per pool per day for fifteen days. A two sample t-test was used to compare the ozone-chlorine treated pools with the chlorine only treated pools using the Mann-Whitney U test. A z-test was used to compare all types of swimming pools and whirlpools to the 1.0 mg/L limit.

Results: The chloramine concentration in both the ozone-chlorine disinfected swimming pool and whirlpool was not statistically significantly lower than in the chlorine disinfected swimming pool (p=0.263597) and whirlpool (p=0.523672). Both types of swimming pools were found to be statistically significantly greater than the 1.0 mg/L chloramine limit (p=0.000023 in the chlorine pool and p=0.00001 for the ozone-chlorine pool). Similarly, both types of whirlpools were determined to be statistically significantly greater than the 1.0 mg/L chloramine limit (p=0.000001 for the chlorine pool and p=0.000001 for the ozone-chlorine pool).

Conclusion: It was determined that there was no difference between ozone chlorine treated pools and chlorine only treated pools. Environmental Health Officers can suggest other forms of secondary treatment instead of ozone since there is no significant difference compared to chlorine only treated pools in reducing chloramine concentrations. This information is also beneficial for pool operators because they can increase their flow rates for pools that use ozonation or strictly chlorination relative to what they were originally designed for.