Occurrence of brominated disinfection byproducts in the air and water of chlorinated seawater swimming pools


  • Manasfi Tarek
  • Temime-Roussel Brice
  • Coulomb Bruno
  • Vassalo Laurent
  • Boudenne Jean-Luc


  • Disinfection byproducts
  • Seawater swimming pools
  • Brominated compounds
  • Chlorination
  • Total organic halide

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An undesirable consequence of disinfection is the formation of chemical contaminants known as disinfection byproducts (DBPs). Chronic exposure to DBPs has been linked to adverse health effects. The occurrence of DBPs in chlorinated pools filled with seawater (such as thalassotherapy pools and pools in spas) has received little attention so far. The present study evaluated the speciation and levels of disinfection byproducts in indoor swimming pools filled with seawater and treated with chlorine. Water and air samples were collected from three indoor swimming pools located in Southern France. Several classes of DBPs including trihalomethanes, haloacetic acids, haloacetonitriles, and trihaloacetaldehydes were analyzed in water. Halogenated volatile organic compounds were analyzed in air. Extractable organic halide (EOX) contents were determined using combustion micro-coulometry system. The speciation of DBPs identified in the three pools was predominantly brominated. The mean (arithmetic) concentration of bromoform, dibromoacetic acid, tribromoacetic acid, dibromoacetonitrile and bromal hydrate in the three pools were 79.2, 72.9, 59.9, 26.9 and 10.0 µg/L, respectively. By weight, HAAs represented the most abundant chemical class followed by THMs. In air, bromoform was the most abundant THM occurring at a mean concentration of 133.2 µg/m 3 in the three pools. The mean EOX level was 706 µgCl-/L for the three pools. In average, the quantified DBPs accounted for only 14% of EOX, thus 86% of EOX remained unknown. Further research is warranted to identify the unknown DBPs.

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