Can you swim in a green pool?

It’s about that time – time to open your pool for summer! Removing the cover of your in-ground pool is kind of like getting a Christmas present you don’t want – you never know what you’ll find inside. Sometimes it’s a frog, sometimes just a lot of leaves and debris. When you discover green water in your pool, however, don’t get in! It may be pretty but a green pool definitely isn’t safe.

What makes my pool green?

Here’s a hint – it’s not a St. Patrick’s Day decoration. Green water typically comes from either an overabundance of algae or excess pollen. Algae spores can multiply rapidly – which is why some pool owners report seeing their pool go from blue to green overnight. If there’s a lot of pollen in the air, it will settle in your pool, making the water cloudy or green. Finally, oxidized copper or other metals present in your source water will make your water green, although this is rare. Chances are, if your pool is green, you have an algae problem.

Cani swim in a green pool?

No. Although some people consider a bit of algae in their pool similar to swimming in a lake or river, there are actually several differences between the backyard pool and the local swimming hole. The ratio of algae to clean water in an outdoor swimming area is less than the ratio in your pool – making the concentration of algae much greater.

Putting our science hats on for a second: Backyard pools are a “closed system” – unlike a river or lake, the water there is rarely diluted, except for occasional rainfall. This increases the concentration of harmful bacteria in pool water; as the bacteria populate, they become greater in relation to clean water. In a river or lake, there’s more of a balance between the algae and bacteria, and water. Plus, there are more things that eat the algae in a lake than there are in your pool. We hope.

Is algae harmful?

The algae itself isn’t harmful, except for some mild skin irritation and itching. The real danger of a green pool is the bacteria that’s accompanying the algae. Consider algae in your pool the canary in the coal mine – if there isn’t enough chlorine to kill the algae, there definitely isn’t enough to kill the bacteria you can’t see. These nasty guys can get into your body through small cuts on the skin, eyes, nose, ears, and mouth, making you sick with fever or stomach problems. There may be parasites and other pathogens present in your green pool, too.

When can I swim?

When the algae is gone and the water returns to a normal color, it’s safe to go back in. A professional pool service can help re-balance the chemicals in your pool, including “shocking” the water with appropriate does of chlorine to kill the algae and bacteria. This process varies with each individual pool and can take anywhere from a couple days to a week, depending on the bacteria levels. Your professional pool service can also deep clean your pool, removing the unsightly algae and other debris from the water, making it clean, sparkly, and safe.

If your pool is green, or if you just need a water check-up, give us a call or visit us online. We can provide a custom quote for a one-time clean or regularly scheduled services throughout the swimming season.

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