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Pool Care Guide: Sanitation

Sanitation of Pool Water

Sanitation refers to the control of infectious organisms (bacteria, virus, etc.), the removal of excess organics (perspiration, urine, body oils) and the prevention of algae growth. Proper pool water sanitation, then, must satisfy three basic requirements, individually and as a whole.

  1. Continuous disinfection
  2. Removal of excess organics
  3. Prevention of Algae growth

To sanitize your pool you can use either Chlorine or Bromine.


Aqua Stabilized Chlorine comes in two different forms: quick dissolving granular Dichlor and compressed Trichlor. The Trichlor is available in 15, 50, 200 and 228 gram sizes.

Granulated Dichlor can be added almost immediately to the pool (once it has been predissolved). This means if your chlorine level has dropped too low, your pool will be safe for swimming 30 minutes after adding Dichlor. Granular Dichlor should be added daily (or as required) to maintain a safe chlorine residual of 1-3 ppm.

Trichlor tablets dissolve more slowly and are fed into the pool gradually through an automatic feeder or by dissolving in the skimmer. An automatic feeder is preferred because it helps maintain a more constant chlorine residual.

Warning: When using an automatic chlorinator, do not add any chemical other than those recommended by the manufacturer. Using the wrong chemical can result in fire and/or explosion.


No matter which form of chlorine is used, you must maintain a chlorine residual of 1-3 ppm. As long as the residual does not drop below 1 ppm, the water will be sanitary.

When chlorine is added to pool water, some of it is used to satisfy an initial chlorine demand. The chlorine is consumed by destroying existing algae and bacteria, and by breaking up organic waste. Once this initial demand has been met, the chlorine that remains is your total chlorine. Total chlorine consists of "free" chlorine and "combined" chlorine. Free chlorine is the active chlorine available for sanitation. Combined chlorine is chlorine that is tied up with organic waste, and forms what we call chloramines. Chloramines are responsible for eye irritation and offensive "chlorine odour". Also, when chlorine is tied up in chloramines, it loses most of its effectiveness as a sanitizer. In a properly maintained pool, total chlorine should equal free chlorine so that combined chlorine (chloramines) are not present.


Bromine is available as a compressed tablet. Bromine is more effective in higher pH ranges. Also, bromine when coupled with nitrogenous waste will form bromamines. Bromamines are good disinfectants. When chlorine, on the other hand, forms chloramines they have no disinfecting properties.