History of swimming

A piece of history.

In the distant past we swam in open water. A lake, river or forest. This water was not always clean. Visible pollution was present and invisible in the form of bacteria. So sometimes we got sick. The idea arose that a regulated swimming pool would be better for health with Lifeguard Class.

After the creation and construction of swimming pools as we know them today, it turned out that filtering the water was not sufficient. A filter, usually filled with sand, usually removes visible pollution from the water, but not from harmful organisms. The people became less often but still sick.

So chemicals were added. The most effective agent was chlorine. So we threw many buckets of chlorine into the swimming pool. Unfortunately, the dark-haired ladies sometimes came out of the basin blonde, in worse situations sometimes completely naked. Hair and clothing fibers are not resistant to chlorine.

So a law was drafted to regulate the use of chlorine. The HVBZ Act and the associated HVBZ Decree became a fact. This states that every public swimming facility must be provided with at least 0.5 milligrams of active chlorine per liter of water.


The legislation for swimming pools has become an almost uncontrollable and applicable tangle of problems. That is why a new law is being prepared. The environmental law, which includes a special section for swimming pools, called BAL, will be introduced in 2021. According to the current reporting. That law should have been in place by 2013. But the whole is so complex that the introduction of the new environmental law has to be postponed time and again. But then what’s the problem? See below.

Swimming pool problems.

As soon as you add chlorine to water, it will react with harmful organisms, or the dreaded germs. The bacteria and viruses die, so to speak. Unfortunately, chlorine also reacts with other chemical elements. Such as cement, metal and other components in the basin and engine room. That’s not fun, but it’s worth checking out. Unfortunately, the reaction between chlorine and organisms and/or other components produces gases. We call these gases chloramines. Those gases react with all parts in the building. Rusting through Rust-Vast Steel from the inside is an example of this.

environmental code

According to the new environmental law, the holder of a swimming facility must do everything possible to prevent direct and indirect damage. The holder of a swimming facility can therefore no longer suffice with keeping a paper shop to demonstrate that the legal criteria (WHVBZ) have been met. We call this reversed burden of proof. The holder of a swimming device will have to use and effectuate all available information to prevent accidents. You are therefore guilty unless you can prove that you have done your best.

Swimming in open water

As soon as we go swimming in open water, we are aware that we are taking a risk. This risk becomes immediately apparent if you miss a buttock due to a shark bite or step out of the sea with a jellyfish on your head afterwards. Sometimes a problem manifests itself a few hours after returning home. Weil’s disease, for example, only sets in after about six hours. As well as the comparable Legionnaires’ disease that is caused by the Legionella bacteria. But is this risk so bad, read unacceptable?

Swimming pool technology

With current technology it is possible to completely sterilize swimming water. So any form of dirty water can be completely cleaned of visible and invisible pollution with an average swimming pool machine room.

Circulation time

All pools pump completely sterile water into the basin. Usually through grids in the bottom. Because this causes the bath to become too full, it overflows via grids along the edge of the bath. The recirculation time is determined by law. The number of visitors and the pollution values   are decisive for this.

Simply explained.

The water can sit in the basin for 24 hours or more. This costs little (pump) energy, but does entail a high risk for the swimmer of bacterial contamination.

The water can sit in the basin for 2 hours or less. This costs a lot of (pump) energy, but does entail a low risk for the swimmer of bacterial contamination.

Energy saving versus safety

We can save 100% energy by no longer pumping the swimming water around at all. Then we will almost certainly get sick.

We can virtually eliminate the risk of contamination without the use of chlorine. We then only need to quickly replace the basin water with sterilized clean water. That costs pump power and therefore energy.


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