+ Reply to Thread
Results 1 to 6 of 6

Thread: Chemical Burns at a resort pool - pH level & other numbers

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2018
    Location
    Missouri
    Posts
    2

    Default Chemical Burns at a resort pool - pH level & other numbers

    Hello, and thanks in advance for your help.

    We were on vacation a few weeks ago and our daughter received chemical burns in a public pool. The pool operators are acting as if 'this sort of thing just happens sometimes.' What we want to understand is if this does just happen, or if they were not maintaining the pool appropriately. It feels to us like they are writing it off and will not make changes to their pool care procedures unless forced to do so. Here are the numbers:

    Free Available Chlorine .11
    Total Chlorine .77
    Combined Chlorine .66
    pH Level 6.3
    Calcium Hardness 135
    Cyanuric Acid 209
    Phosphates 3273
    Saturation Index -2.1
    Endure 0

    So, is the state of this pool something that simply happens, and happens quickly? What would cause it? Or was this pool not being properly maintained? I'm afraid other people, especially children, will be injured if they are being negligent and do not accept the responsibility to change how they care for the pool.

  2. #2
    PoolDoc's Avatar
    PoolDoc is offline Administrator Quark Inspector PoolDoc 5 stars PoolDoc 5 stars PoolDoc 5 stars PoolDoc 5 stars PoolDoc 5 stars PoolDoc 5 stars PoolDoc 5 stars
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Georgia
    Posts
    11,348

    Default Re: Chemical Burns at a resort pool - pH level & other numbers

    Hm-m-mh. I don't think I'm going to make you happy. But I'll respond.

    1. Do chemical 'burns' of swimmers happen? Probably only as "1st degree burns" (per this article: https://www.emedicinehealth.com/chem...k_medical_care).

    2. Do more serious burns happen? Yes, but outside the pool, when handling pool chemicals.

    3. Can you prove the pool was the cause? Probably not. 1st degree chem burns aren't distinguishable from many other sorts of skin irritation.

    4. Are 1st degree chemical burns from pools a real risk? Not so much. By definition, they are mostly irritation. By contrast, poor chlorination can result in infections that put you in the hospital or even kill!

    5. Is there any indication in the readings you reported of real problems? Yes:
    Free Available Chlorine .11 <= Dangerously low
    Total Chlorine .77
    Combined Chlorine .66 <= Indicative of extremely poor pool management.
    pH Level 6.3 <= Low enough to irritate skin
    Calcium Hardness 135
    Cyanuric Acid 209 <= Much too high
    Phosphates 3273
    Saturation Index -2.1
    6. Can you get any satisfaction by reporting those test results? Probably not. They look like machine read test-strip results . . . which means they are not very accurate. If I were hired for the defense, I would testify that those methods are unreliable and inconsistent, and then demonstrate that fact.

    7. Is there anything else you can do? Possibly. Though I don't trust those test results much, taken as a whole, they indicate a poorly managed commercial pool with LOW chlorine, HIGH CYA and generally poor management. If there is municipal health inspection in the city or county where the pool is located, a phone call will probably result in an unannounced inspection. Given the level of screw-ups indicated in your result, the chance that the inspector will find a screwed up pool and shut it done is high.

    If you want to engage in some guerrilla tactics, you could have friends make similar calls at random intervals, and produce further inspections. From what I've seen motels and hotels generally do not manage their pools well, and do not have staff capable of doing so. There are exceptions, I'm sure. But I've never encountered a properly managed hotel, motel or apartment pool.

    Good luck.

  3. #3
    PoolDoc's Avatar
    PoolDoc is offline Administrator Quark Inspector PoolDoc 5 stars PoolDoc 5 stars PoolDoc 5 stars PoolDoc 5 stars PoolDoc 5 stars PoolDoc 5 stars PoolDoc 5 stars
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Georgia
    Posts
    11,348

    Default Re: Chemical Burns - pH level & other numbers

    PS. It just dawned on me: the 'chemical burns' may be a result of the very high chloramines (CC value), rather than the low pH.

  4. #4
    PoolDoc's Avatar
    PoolDoc is offline Administrator Quark Inspector PoolDoc 5 stars PoolDoc 5 stars PoolDoc 5 stars PoolDoc 5 stars PoolDoc 5 stars PoolDoc 5 stars PoolDoc 5 stars
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Georgia
    Posts
    11,348

    Default Re: Chemical Burns - pH level & other numbers

    Upgraded membership and moved thread to the Pool Water Problem section. You may need to log out and back in to see everything.

    PS.You can search use Google to search multiple pool sites, using Google's 'advanced search operators" to limit your search to specific sites. This page of mine will create the search links for you. Google knows my site -- and all the others -- much better than those sites internal search functions! And, if you need to post pictures -- of your pool, filter, pump, piping, what-not -- there are instructions on this page

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2018
    Location
    Missouri
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: Chemical Burns - pH level & other numbers

    Thank you for your input.

    Given the totality of the experience and evidence I do not see any reasonable way to deny it was caused by the pool. Especially considering other guests expressed varying degrees of skin irritation / burn after swimming also. In the end though, we aren't looking for a windfall but we do expect them to take the issue seriously and address their practice shortcomings.

    If we pursued compensation it would be in small claims court and they wouldn't risk new litigants during the discovery phase, as we contacted other campers that could be affected.

    But again, the main thing is they need to address their pool management and prevent injuring others, whether it be "chemical burn" or severe "skin irritation."

  6. #6
    PoolDoc's Avatar
    PoolDoc is offline Administrator Quark Inspector PoolDoc 5 stars PoolDoc 5 stars PoolDoc 5 stars PoolDoc 5 stars PoolDoc 5 stars PoolDoc 5 stars PoolDoc 5 stars
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Georgia
    Posts
    11,348

    Default Re: Chemical Burns - pH level & other numbers

    Sounds like you already had legal plans in mind . . . good luck!

    If you are able to change the culture of pool maintenance in the hospitality and apartment business, that would be a good thing. But if you were able to compel a finding that would force them to "take the issue seriously and address their practice shortcomings", I'd be willing to bet that most facilities would respond by simply removing the pool.

    You didn't mention the type of facility before, but I'd bet good money that a "camp" will respond to any negative judgement by doing exactly that. That trajectory is already well established, with the removal of diving boards at commercial pools over the past 30 years.

    What I didn't mention is that my working career was servicing commercial pool operations, quite possibly like the one you encountered. The problem for them is that, even if they wanted to do better, there is no recognized and established guide they could use that would enable them to do so. The chemical companies have ZERO interest in doing so, since well operated pools use LESS chemicals than poorly operated ones.

    I could go into a long monologue about the problems, and the reasons for situations like yours . . . but there's no point. Doing so won't lead to any operational improvements.

    Have fun!

+ Reply to Thread

Similar Threads

  1. "The Resort"
    By Tom.B in forum Photo Gallery
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 06-23-2014, 09:55 AM
  2. Testing chemical level for newb
    By consoleman in forum Testing and Adjusting Pool Water Chemistry
    Replies: 11
    Last Post: 11-02-2013, 12:34 PM
  3. Laars LX400 heater - burns erratically and fries fusable link
    By Yellowdog in forum Pool Equipment & Operations
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 09-16-2013, 08:11 AM
  4. Help with pH level and chemical shelf life
    By NannyAng in forum Pool Chemistry for Intex-type Pools
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 08-11-2013, 08:12 PM
  5. CYA level and chlorine level and pool store recomendation
    By Fishcrazy in forum Using Chlorine and Chlorinating Chemicals
    Replies: 31
    Last Post: 08-21-2011, 11:25 AM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts