Do People Pee in Hotel Pools and Is This Dangerous for Your Guests?

March 13, 2018


“I think everybody pees in the pool. It’s kind of a normal thing to do for swimmers. Chlorine kills it, so it’s not bad.” –Michael Phelps, 21-Time Olympic Gold Medalist, Swimmer


While the most decorated Olympian in US history seems to think that people urinating in public pools is “not so bad,” science disagrees. Unless you have the perfect balance of chemicals expertly applied to your hotel pool’s water, you are putting your guests at risk of contracting serious, sometimes fatal illnesses that are spread through urine.

How Much Pee is in Pool Water?


Researchers from the University of Alberta in Canada conducted a test to determine the amount of urine present in two Canadian public pools. This was done by tracking the presence of artificial sweeteners commonly found in processed foods that cannot be fully metabolized by the body.


The experiment took place over a period of three weeks. In that time, one pool containing 110,000 gallons of water was also housing 8 gallons of urine. Another pool with 220,000 gallons of water tested positive for upwards of 20 gallons of urine. This is a staggering amount.


So, what are the harmful effects of urine in pools? Are your guests in danger?



The single most common recreational water illness is diarrhea. When swimmers swallow contaminated water, in which pool chemicals have mixed with urine, sweat, dirt and even feces, they could become infected with a number of harmful bacteria, including E. Coli.


Lung Issues


Urine contains nitrogen-based compounds such as uric acid and ammonia. When combined with pool disinfectants, they can form a number of harmful byproducts. One of the most dangerous contaminants created by this mixture is trichloramine. Repeated exposure to this compound irritates the eyes and lungs and can lead to an increased risk of asthma symptoms.


Swimmer’s Ear


Swimmer’s Ear is an infection of the outer ear canal, often brought about by water that remains in your ear after swimming. This moist environment encourages bacterial growth, allowing contaminants already present in water due to increased levels of urine to multiply and spread.


Agents of Chemical Warfare


Yes, you read that correctly. When guests pee in your pool they could be unknowingly creating a component of a chemical weapon. When urine is mixed with pool chemicals, it can create cyanogen chloride, which is a chemical warfare compound that is toxic in large doses. It affects the heart, lungs and central nervous system when inhaled. While this issue does not pose a major threat to outdoor pool areas, guests swimming indoors without proper air and water filtration may find themselves with potentially life-threatening symptoms.


How Can You Avoid Potential Guest Illness?


If you believe Michael Phelps, there’s no stopping the public from urinating in public pools. What you can do is ensure that your pool’s chemical levels are flawless in order to combat the harmful contaminants that people are bringing into the water. When the health and wellness of your guests is on the line, you can’t trust anyone but the very best.


Serious guest illnesses contracted through your hotel’s pool come with a number of potentially catastrophic events that could be harmful to your facility. Guest satisfaction scores will plummet following an outbreak, effectively ruining your reputation. Serious illnesses may also be accompanied by a costly lawsuit, which has the potential to cripple your business.


Falcon Commercial Pool Services is a Certified Pool Contractor, with over 14 years of experience in the commercial pool industry. Our hotel pool maintenance programs will ensure that your pool’s water is perfectly balanced and safe for your guests. We provide regular inspections to make certain that everyone jumping into your clean and clear water is protected.


For more information on Falcon’s services, Click Here or Call Us at 407-857-1750.