Date
29 March 2017
Chlorine levels in some swimming pools didn't conform to standards, while a few facilities had high levels of carcinogen in the water, according to tests. Photo: HKEJ
Chlorine levels in some swimming pools didn't conform to standards, while a few facilities had high levels of carcinogen in the water, according to tests. Photo: HKEJ

Tests reveal water quality problems in public swimming pools

The government has been urged to step up monitoring of the water quality at local swimming pools after tests revealed problems at some public facilities. 

The Democratic Party said it collected 16 water samples from eight public swimming pools in the Kowloon West region this month and conducted tests with regard to pH values, turbidity, levels of free residual chlorine and E. coli, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reported.

The tests showed that six out of the eight public swimming pools were found to have water with either overly high or low free residual chlorine levels than the standards set out by the Department of Health.

Meanwhile, carcinogenic substance trihalomethanes (THMs) was found in the water samples from two out of three selected swimming pools.

THMs level at the main pool of the Lei Cheng Uk Swimming Pool reached 55.5 ppm, while that at main pool of Sham Shui Po Swimming Pool was at 23.1ppm, above the 20 ppm ceiling set by the International Swimming Federation as well as some European nations.

Only the Kowloon Park Swimming Pool was found below the ceiling at 12.2 ppm, according to news website hk01.com.

Citing information from the US Environmental Protection Agency, democratic lawmaker Helena Wong Pik-wan noted that THMs have been verified as a carcinogen after testing on animals, and that it could have adverse effects on a person’s liver, kidney and the central nervous system.

The Leisure and Cultural Services Department has yet to test THMs in its routine water samples testing, and the World Health Organization has yet to make any recommendations on the chemical compounds.

THMs are produced when chlorine in swimming pool water reacts with organic substances from swimmers, such as sweat and cosmetics.

– Contact us at english@hkej.com

EL/DY/RC

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