Chloroform (CHCl3) is an important atmospheric pollutant by its direct health effects as well as by its contribution to photochemical smog formation. Chloroform outgassing from swimming pools is not typically considered a source of atmospheric CHCl3 because swimming pools are scarce compared to other sources. However, large urban areas in hot climates such as Phoenix, AZ contain a substantial amount of swimming pools, potentially resulting in significant atmospheric fluxes. In this study, CHCl3 formation potential (FP) from disinfection of swimming pools in Phoenix was investigated through laboratory experiments and annual CHCl3 emission fluxes from swimming pools were estimated based on the experimental data.
Swimming pool water (collected in June 2014 in Phoenix) and model contaminants (Pharmaceuticals and Personal Care Products (PPCPs), Endocrine Disrupting Compounds (EDCs), artificial sweeteners, and artificial human waste products) were chlorinated in controlled laboratory experiments. The CHCl3 production during chlorination was determined using Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS) following solid-phase microextraction (SPME). Upon chlorination, all swimming pool water samples and contaminants produced measureable amounts of chloroform. Chlorination of swimming pool water produced 0.005-0.134 mol CHCl3/mol C and 0.004-0.062 mol CHCl3/mol Cl2 consumed. Chlorination of model contaminants produced 0.004-0.323 mol CHCl3/mol C and 0.001-0.247 mol CHCl3/mol Cl2 consumed. These numbers are comparable and indicate that the model contaminants react similarly to swimming pool water during chlorination. The CHCl3 flux from swimming pools in Phoenix was estimated at approximately 3.9-4.3 Gg/yr and was found to be largely dependent on water temperature and wind speed while air temperature had little effect. This preliminary estimate is orders of magnitude larger than previous estimates of anthropogenic emissions in Phoenix suggesting that swimming pools might be a significant source of atmospheric CHCl3 locally.