Australian made and manufactured water disinfection technology could have prevented the Rio 2016 Olympics organisers from being left red-faced by the green, foul-smelling pool water that forced the temporary closure and draining of an Olympic diving pool and severely disrupted athletes’ training.
Elena Gosse, the CEO of Australian Innovative Systems (AIS), a Brisbane-based manufacturer of chlorine generators for water disinfection, said that an automatic, in-line Chlorine generator like the ones AIS produces could have ensured the Rio pool water stayed clean and clear and saved the organisers from embarrassment.
“The situation with the water in the Olympic diving pool was very unfortunate, Elena said.
“The bright green water was due to the presence of large amounts of green algae which is a symptom of inadequate disinfection and not enough Chlorine. If Chlorine levels were initially properly maintained the situation would not have happened as the algae could not have grown.”
Pool management in Rio has publicly stated that incorrect chemicals were used in the pool diminishing the ability of the Chlorine to do its job of keeping the water clean and clear.
“While Olympic officials originally closed the pool and tried shock-dosing the water, unfortunately the wrong chemical was used which then effectively destroyed all of the Chlorine. The only option then left was to drain millions of litres of water from the pool,” Elena said.
The multi-award winning CEO said it was unfortunate that a number of ‘no chlorine’ claiming technologies were emerging in the market, many of which were not officially recognised by industry or delivered the adequate disinfection levels required to protect swimmers.
“While people have mistakenly held Chlorine responsible for symptoms such as red and irritated eyes, a pungent chemical smell and itchy skin, the problem is not Chlorine but rather chloramines, caused by inadequate levels of Chlorine in the pool, Elena said.
“Chlorine remains the only widely-approved, residual disinfectant for public swimming pools world-wide and is actually the hero when it comes to water disinfection. Free Chlorine kills germs and helps to protect swimmers from waterborne disease and pathogens.”
AIS’ chlorinators work by disinfecting pool water onsite and inline, conveniently and automatically. Using a process known as electrolysis, water passes through electrolytic cells which convert the minerals and salts present in the water into Chlorine. The Chlorine is then distributed directly into the water keeping it clear and germ and bacteria free and ensuring there is no chance of running out of Chlorine. AIS’ technology also eliminates the risk, hassle and expense of traditional Chlorine storage and dosing.
With AIS’ technology already in place in over 55 countries world-wide including large aquatic centres, theme parks, municipal facilities and competition swimming pools, Elena said that the Rio situation should be a “wake-up call” for FINA, the international federation recognized by the International Olympic Committee for administering international competition in Aquatics.
“Unbelievably there is no world-wide standard for pool water quality when it comes to competition swimming facilities, Elena said.
“FINA simply defers to the standards of the governing health authority of wherever the competition pool is located.”
Elena said that AIS had a number of its water disinfection systems installed at the Gold Coast Aquatic Centre (GCAC), the venue for the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games, but not in GCAC’s competition swimming pools.
“There is award-winning, innovative, Australian designed and manufactured technology available right here in our own back yard, Elena said.
“The peace of mind that comes with an automatic, inline chlorinator is one thing but there’s also the added benefit of not having to transport, handle or store dangerous quantities of liquid Chlorine on site.
“Additionally there is no need to dump copious quantities of pool water, as is required with liquid or granular Chlorine systems, in order to keep the levels of total dissolved solids or total water hardness within guidelines.
“We will continue our industry education campaign about the benefits of inline water disinfection and hope by the time the next Olympics takes place that tried and tested technology such as ours is adopted so Rio’s green pool never happens again.”