Swimming pool chemical incident

According to the BBC, a man was treated in hospital after accidentally mixing chemicals used for cleaning a swimming pool.

Emergency services were called out to reports of a chemical incident at Glenwood High School on Saturday.

They discovered that a member of staff had accidentally mixed chemicals used for cleaning the swimming pool.

That pool chemicals are extremely dangerous is so often forgotten. I have come across numerous incidents of explosions, vapor discharges or wild, out of control reactions due to the mixing of different pool chemicals. Possibly the most frightening and perhaps the easiest mix to “accidently” make is the combination of dichlor and calcium hypo with some water added to it.

In pools where the chlorine needs to be predissolved and the pool operator mixes some dichlor and cal hypo in the same bucket, the resulting explosion and thick pungent cloud of yellow “mustard gas” is horrifying to witness. The gas explodes upwards in a typical mushroom shape. Thankfully, people unfortunate enough to be nearby when it all goes bang generally remain below the cloud of gas.

21 thoughts on “Swimming pool chemical incident

  1. I never knew that mixing dichlor and cal-hypo with water could explode. I’ve mixed them dry in the past. Good thing I never added water.

    And what’s this about mustard gas being chlorine! I suppose it’s not talked about much or pool owners would worry more about using chlorine.

  2. This is a perfect example of the value of hiring a reputable company to maintain the chemicals in your pool. Stop buying and storing all of those chemicals.

  3. Dear Sirs:
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    We installed our 16’ x 33’ pool three years ago. While we were setting it up, my husband found your systems on the internet and was intrigued by the idea of not having to use chemicals to keep our pool clean. He researched it intensely, and even called some of the references listed on your site. It was one of those things that seemed too good to be true. But after all the rave reviews from your customers, we finally decided it was worth the chance. So he called the closest factory rep. which was in North Carolina, questioned him even more, then finally ordered the system (with extra copper plates just in case you went out of business before the five year life expectancy was out!) Now is that skeptical or what?!?!
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    But the real test came when our grown daughter, Kristi, realized something was wrong, and went on a mad search throughout the house for her 22 month old son. When she couldn’t find him upstairs, she saw the back door was open, and her worst fear was realized. She found her baby son lying lifeless, at the bottom of our 4 1/2’ pool. She jumped in, pulled his little body out of the water, placed him on the ledge and even without CPR training, started pushing the water out of his stomach, and breathing into his mouth to try to bring him back (even though she knew he was gone). After no response from him, she ran into the house to get the phone and called 911. As she ran back to his side, trying once again to get him to breathe, he finally started coughing, and even though he remained unresponsive, he began to cry (a sure sign of life).
    The ambulance arrived and rushed him to the hospital. While there in the emergency room, the doctors questioned us about the environment in which he was found. We told them the pool did not have chemicals in it, instead was filtered by a copper filtering system. They asked us several times about that, and about how long he had been under water. Our speculation was 5 minutes.
    A little while later, after the doctors had consulted with one another, they came back and questioned us once more about the water. They asked, “So there were no chemicals or chlorine in the water?” We affirmed that fact, and they continued, “But the water wasn’t green?” We assured them the water was crystal clear. We asked if that made a difference and they said absolutely. They said in many of these cases, the chlorine does as much damage to the body as the water itself.
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  4. Chlorine Gas also known as Mustard gas was use in the early days for chemical warfare and is deadly. For any new pool owner make sure you never mix acid and chlorine that is a receipt for disaster

  5. One thing I always tell everyone to be careful is the breathing in of the chemicals. Most pool chemicals contain are harmful to your body when inhaled and in the long run will cause you harm. If you don’t believe me, search the internet for known cases of pool guys becoming intoxicated.

    Pool Service Miami

  6. Getting your pool serviced and cleaned by a professional helps pool owners enjoy their pool more than resent it. I don’t know why they insist on trying to be the jack of all trades and doing it on their own.

    I will never forget when I was 13 years old and hating my pool! What kid hates their pool…I did because I was in charge of keeping it clean and no matter how much help I had from my father and advice from the pros at the pool store I never got it right.

    Get your pools cleaned and maintain by the pros…you will be so glad you did.

  7. This kind of information should be more visible throughout the industry. Chemical use in pools and spas is so common, most people forget to take the proper care when handling and applying them.

  8. I have shocked my pool but when checking the ph and chlorine the ph was good but the chlorine was a burnt orange color what going on and how do I correct this problem your help will be greatly Thanks Priss

  9. Just as deciding on the style swimming pool you ultimately chose, the hot tub and spa decision-making process should not be a snap decision. Once you have your hot tub or spa installed it will be an accessory that you and your family will enjoy for countless hours!

  10. Are the pool tiles smooth? Are there cracks and stains on the pool wall or floor?I’m full of emotions after reading this post. I extremely like it and it’s incredible to read about this topic.

  11. We, at Pool Services of Weston offer a chemicals only scheduled service. Although residential pool owners can, with good information, service their own pools, we discourage clients from applying chemicals, as there are serious health risks involved. A skilled technician will prevent undesired incidents.

  12. This is a very important cautionary tale. As with most professions, lack of training can lead to potential health hazards and damage to property. If ever in doubt, contact a trained professional with verified credentials. Thanks for the info!

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