[Brazil] The “embarrassing” emerald green water in the pools at the Rio aquatics centre that left some athletes with itchy eyes is the
result of an unplanned dump of hydrogen peroxide into the water, Olympic organisers said.
A contractor added 80 litres of hydrogen peroxide to each of the diving and water polo pools last Friday, but organisers said they only found out on Tuesday when the water in the diving pool turned green during the women’s 10-metre platform final.
The addition of hydrogen peroxide neutralised the chlorine and allowed algae to bloom, organisers said.
“This is a way of cleaning swimming pools but you’re not supposed to combine it with chlorine,” Gustavo Nascimento, Rio 2016’s director of venue management, said.
“We were not consulted, our contractor’s failure is our failure.”
The green pools have become a huge headache for organisers of the Rio Games, becoming the butt of “swamp” jokes among millions of spectators in the stands and those watching on television.
Some water polo players have complained about itchy eyes, while German diver Stephen Feck commented on Facebook yesterday that the whole venue smelt like “somebody has fart”.
Water to be drained and replaced before synchronised swimming
The electronic monitoring system for the pools at the Maria Lenk Aquatics Center was functioning but was fooled by the chemical reaction to think that the chlorine was still working, Mr Nascimento said.
The fact that 120 athletes were using the diving pool also increased the amount of “organics” in the water, he added.
To treat the water, which organisers said does not pose any risk to athletes, they have been stabilising the chemistry and trying to make the algae more dense to clean it up, but were racing against time to avoid disrupting competition schedules.
Mr Nascimento said 10 hours will be spent draining and replacing the water in the pool that will be used for the synchronised swimming event, which begins on Sunday, where competitors need to see each other under water.
Rio Games spokesman Mario Andrada, who declined to answer questions on who the contractor was or who would pay for the treatment, had previously said the issue would be solved by Wednesday but admitted they had overpromised and undelivered.
“Of course it’s an embarrassment,” Mr Andrada said.
“This was probably the only issue that we were unable to solve quickly.”
‘We’re in this together’ says diver of pool mix-up
Luckily for them, divers have been taking it in their stride.
“When the water’s too murky you can’t see the bottom of the pool so it affects your target point when you’re doing your turns in the air,” China’s Shi Tingmao said after placing first in Saturday’s women’s 3 metres springboard semi-finals.
“So it has some impact but it’s not a big problem.”
American Abby Johnston, who also qualified for the final, said her “chemistry brain was going ‘what?'” when told about the hydrogen peroxide dump.
“But it’s a fun thing for all of us divers to stand up there and talk about,” she said.
“We’re all in this together.”
View original article at: Olympic fart-smelling pools’ green hue caused by hydrogen peroxide mix-up