Olympic pool turns green – a Morecambe expert’s verdict

A photo of the green Olympic pool posted on British diver Tom Daley's twitter.
A photo of the green Olympic pool posted on British diver Tom Daley's twitter.
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When the Olympic diving pool turned green it caused worldwide shock but it’s all in a day’s work for one Morecambe businessman.

David Brayshaw of Aqua Engineering said he comes across green swimming pools regularly in his line of work.

A green swimming pool before treatment by Aqua Engineering.

A green swimming pool before treatment by Aqua Engineering.

Many jokingly speculated on social media if the Rio pool had turned a swampy green colour because of urine or Shrek going for a swim!

But Mr Brayshaw, whose Morecambe firm specialises in water treatment, believes the Maria Lenk Aquatic Centre pool turned green due to algae spores caused by a breakdown in filtration or chemical balance of the water.

Mr Brayshaw, who writes a weekly column for The Visitor, said a build-up of algae is the most likely cause.

“Chlorine is only effective within a small pH range, so if the water goes above 7.5 pH or drops below 6.8 the efficiency of the chlorine dramatically reduces,” he said.

David Brayshaw.

David Brayshaw.

“Once the pH is wrong, the algae has probably flourished overnight in the warm weather and bang, you’ve got a green Olympic pool.”

So how do you fix it?

“You’d check to see what the initial fault is, correct the pH and increase the chlorine levels with a ‘chlorine shock’ to kill the algae,” said Mr Brayshaw.

“Algae spores are not harmful but there might be concern about what else the pool is harbouring. “I would imagine though at the Olympics that they’ve done microbiology tests on the water to make sure there’s nothing else growing in there that could be harmful. You’d hope so anyway.”

Aside from running his business, Mr Brayshaw is also a Morecambe town councillor and chairman of Morecambe Carnival Committee

The Olympic pool had been its usual clear blue colour on Monday when Britain’s Tom Daley and Dan Goodfellow won bronze in the synchronised diving.

But by Tuesday it had turned green, leading people to speculate on social media about the cause.

Competition continued at the Olympic diving pool on Tuesday despite the green water.

A spokesman said: “It’s very important to the Rio 2016 community to ensure a high quality of play.

“Tests were conducted and the water was found to be safe. We’re investigating what the cause was.”