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The Swimming Pool Room Study. Joanne Royko Environmental Technology III Kent state University Professor Adil Sharag-Eldin, Ph. D. The Research Question. The Question: Will plants be healthy in a swimming pool room?

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The swimming pool room study l.jpg
The Swimming Pool Room Study

Joanne Royko

Environmental Technology III

Kent state University

Professor Adil Sharag-Eldin, Ph. D


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The Research Question

The Question: Will plants be healthy in a swimming pool room?

The swimming pool is a great place to strip down and relax. Entering the poolroom, even walking past it, one can feel the sensation of tropical atmosphere. Warmth and humidity levels mirror those of the tropics. The only problem is that there is no pleasant foliage to enjoy, and the air is infused with chlorine.

Another issue is that of human health. It is known that chlorine aggravates the respiratory system of those who have too much exposure to it. For example, some athletic swimmers later develop the conditions of asthma. However, swimming is good exercise, and many doctors prescribe it to their patients


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Environment of Interest

The MACC Annex Swimming Pool Room, Important Features:

  • The 7’ clerestory structure and two large automated vents in the ceiling.

  • The pool is 25 yards square with 8 ½ feet of walkway surrounding it.

  • An office and supply room enclosure sits at the far end.

  • There are 32 6” x 24” air supply grills mounted in the floor at the room’s edge; and one huge 8’ x 4’-4” air intake which also serves as a service way between the poolroom and filter room.

  • The room has an area of approximately 10,000 square feet and is 32 feet high.

  • The windows and floor closest to the pool have accumulated deposits of pool water salts from the splashing and movement of wet people.

  • The concrete floor around the supply ducts is experiencing some creep visible to the observer.

  • At 12:00 noon, five to ten people are present for open swim time. There are classes both before and after open swim session.


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Causes of Indoor Air Problems

The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) determined in their Indoor Air Quality Investigation Results that an inadequate level of outside air is only one ventilation problem from a list of possible causes. NIOSH described some ventilation problems as:

  • Not enough fresh air supplied to the space

  • Poor air distribution and mixing which causes stratification, draftiness and pressure differences between office spaces

  • Humidity extremes or fluctuations

  • Filtration problems caused by improper or no maintenance to the ventilation systems

  • Reducing or eliminating outdoor air (energy conservation measure)

  • Reducing infiltration and exfiltration (energy conservation measure)

  • Lowering thermostats or economizer cycles in winter and raising them in summer (energy conservation measure)

  • Eliminating humidification or dehumidification systems (energy conservation measure)

  • Early afternoon shut-down and late morning start-up of ventilation systems (energy conservation measure)

    48% of the indoor air quality problems NIOSH investigated were solved in ways independent of the ventilation system.


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Causes/Solutions

As Percentage of Occurrences:

  • Inadequate ventilation 52%

  • Inside contamination 17%

  • Outside contamination 11%

  • Biological contamination 5%

  • Building fabric contamination 3%

  • Other causes 12%

    Solutions:

  • Limit pollution at the source

  • Isolate unavoidable sources of pollution

  • Provide for adequate supply and filtering of fresh air

  • Maintain the building and its equipment in clean condition


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Standards Regarding IAQ

Important Recommendations to Promote Good Indoor Air Quality for swimming pool rooms from ASHRAE include:

  • The recommended outdoor air requirement for ventilation for the swimming pool room is .5 CFM per square foot.

  • Swimmers are most comfortable when the relative humidity ranges between 50 to 60%. The maintenance of humidity levels between 40 and 60% are required for comfort, energy consumption, and building protection year-round. Therefore a designer must address the following concerns; humidity control, ventilation requirements for air quality, air distribution, duct design, pool water chemistry, and evaporation rates.

  • A negative pressure zone of 0.5 to 0.15 inches of water ought to be maintained relative to adjacent areas of the building to prevent moisture and chloramine odor migration.

  • For pools with no spectator areas the recommended air changes per hour range from four to six. In spectator areas six to eight air changes per hour are desired.

  • Complaints from swimmers tend to indicate that the greatest chloramine concentrations occur at the water surface.


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Hypothesis

Statement of Problems of Space and Objective

Original Hypothesis: The VOC level is too high for plant life. Unfortunately, finding information concerning safe ingestion rates of chlorine for plant life is difficult, or nonexistent. I therefore felt it necessary to restate the hypothesis to make it easier to test and compare with available information and research.

New Hypothesis: The VOC level is too high for humans; therefore the air exchange rate needs to be maintained at adequate levels in order to keep humans healthy.

Testable Hypothesis

The VOC level is too high for humans.

The tool:

The Eco Sensor Model C-21 is a VOC meter. It has a LED indicator that warns when there is a high concentration of VOC’s. The number of LED’s that become lit shows the concentration of VOC’s between the extremes of zero and hazardous. One green light is the lowest measurement at one end, and all lights lit is the highest measurement.



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Approach/Methodology

What are two main factors helping the growth or accumulation of airborne VOC’s?

  • Temperature and humidity.

    What inhibits the growth or accumulation of VOC’s?

  • Controlled humidity, air filtering and continuous air exchange.

    How do I determine whether the air is clean enough?

  • Take measurements and compare them to ASHRAE’s standards.

    What measurement need to be taken?

  • A VOC reading

  • Air changes

  • Relative humidity

  • Dry bulb temperature

  • Wet bulb temperature

  • Carbon dioxide.

Return air – Supply air

Return air – Outside air

% Outside Air =

CFM * 60

Volume

Air change =


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Project Findings - Plants

Plants

I concluded from the findings of Dr. B. C. Wolverton that plants do indeed process chemicals from the air. However, to live in a toxic space for long periods of time, each plant has to grow faster than it absorbs the chemical elements in the air. Through a process called photosynthesis, plants ingest some chemicals and store them in the leaves and branches. When the leaves and branches become chemically saturated the limb and foliage falls off and joins the ground biosphere below. The chlorine remains in the fallen plant mass, therefore chlorine is still present in another concoction. Chlorine (Cl) is an atomic element; therefore organisms in the soil won’t break it down. Therefore, it is best to dispose of dead poolroom foliage in an earth friendly manner - by not mixing it with the environment outside.


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Project Findings - People

People:

Humans produce carbon dioxide, water vapor, and contaminants including particulate matter, biological aerosols, and VOC’s. Russian and American space scientists established that humans release as many as 150 VOC’s into the atmosphere, such as carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, hydrogen, methane, alcohols, phenols, methyl indole, aldehydes, ammonia, hydrogen sulphide, volatile fatty acids, indol, mercaptans and nitrogen oxides. Acetone, ethyl alcohol, methyl alcohol and ethyl acetate are the principle substances emitted through normal biological processes. According to ASHRAE, comfort and odor, criteria with respect to human body affluence is usually satisfied when ventilation results in an indoor carbon dioxide concentration of less than 700 ppm above the outdoor air concentration


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Project Findings – Swimming Pools

Swimming Pools:

When chlorine is added to water it forms hypochlorous acid (HClO), an excellent bactericide. In this solution it is known as "free chlorine," and is highly reactive. The pool water exists in perfect equilibrium when it is properly treated, and no chloramine gas enters the air. An imbalance occurs when people are added to the water. A chemical reaction occurs: chlorine mixes with human biological wastes creating chloramine (NH2Cl). Chloramine will release to the air and reach a balance in the room based on a chemical law known as the partial pressure law. In laymen’s terms, this law states how much chloramine remains in the water and how much is released to the air.

Adding more chemicals to water increases the total contaminant level until the chemical reactions reach equilibrium. In high occupancy pools, water contaminant levels can double in a single day of operation. Even the perfect chlorine feed system will suffer imbalances because it takes time to mix the large volume of water, and people come and go throughout the course of the day. The dynamics of pool chemistry go much deeper, and won’t be covered in this report. However, an air quality control system must be in place to deal with temporary imbalances in water chemistry.




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The MACC Annex - 1st run

  • Impressions/Conclusions:

  • Perhaps the door had been propped open while the room was in use for reasons of comfort. While it is open it creates a draft that pulls air from the room into the hallway. It could be that the return duct doesn’t pull enough air out of the room so the open door serves as an exhaust outlet at the floor level, where it is most needed.

  • I was able to determine that the supply air throw adequately mixed the air by taking surface temperature measurements of the floor, wall and ceiling in several locations around the room. The speed of the throw wasn’t a problem unless one is standing right on or hovering over the grill.

  • Surface temperature and relative humidity levels were adequate; the levels were far enough from dew point temperatures to not produce any condensation on the interior surface. Carbon dioxide levels were also in an adequate range, however location 5 didn’t seem to receive enough outside air while the test was run. The open door might have made location 5 a dead zone.

  • The air exchange rate exceeds the ASHRAE Standard 62-2001 requirement of 0.5 CFM per square foot. The VOC Eco Sensor lit one LED indicating that concentrations of VOC’s ranged between zero to twenty parts per million.




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The MACC Annex - 2nd run

  • Impressions/Conclusions:

  • The supply ducts on the interior wall were disabled again today. It could be a strategy to counter the heat gain from the windows, which are also located along south and east exterior walls.

  • The air conditioning took advantage of the moderate outdoor climate by bringing in 100% fresh air and maintaining an air temperature between 86F & 86.5oF. Outdoor readings of CO2 averaged around 438 ppm, while supply air CO2 ranged between 450 & 475 ppm.. Meanwhile, relative humidity in supply air oscillated between 36 & 35%.

  • Surface temperature and relative humidity levels were adequate; The air exchange rate exceeds the ASHRAE Standard 62-2001 requirement of 0.5 CFM per square foot. The VOC Eco Sensor lit one LED indicating that concentrations of VOC’s ranged between zero to twenty parts per million.




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The MACC Annex - 3rd run

  • Impressions/Conclusions:

  • Outside it was cold and raining. Inside it was windy because exterior doors in the hallway were propped open. Air velocity at doorway was high and drafts were cooler. The air at the pool's edge varied in velocity from 1-2 ft/min, to 115 at the return duct, to 130 ft/min at the door.

  • The supply ducts on the interior wall were again disabled today – maybe they don’t work. Water rained on the sill in the interior wall (location 5) sending droplets down to people below, but surface temperature and relative humidity levels were adequate so perhaps the roof has a leak.

  • The stale air at the doorway could have been hallway air mixed with outside air that ranged between 480 – 500 ppm of CO2 that day.

  • Again, the air exchange rate exceeds the ASHRAE Standard 62-2001 requirement of 0.5 CFM per square foot. The VOC Eco Sensor lit one LED indicating that concentrations of VOC’s ranged between zero to twenty parts per million.




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The Recreation & Wellness Center – 1st run

  • Impressions/Conclusions:

  • In the recreation & wellness center both the supply and return ducts are located at the ceiling level. There are vents along the windowed wall to keep condensation from forming there. Since there isn’t any return air grills at the floor level it is possible for air to pool in the lower level.

  •  The room was noticeably warmer. The surface temperatures in the room were adequate and within acceptable ranges to keep condensation from forming in the room. The air changes per hour were adequate, and there was no sensation of airflow at the swimmers level.

  • Carbon dioxide levels were higher. Some of the higher concentrations occurred at the entry door (location 3), and jumped whenever someone walked through it. Concentrations also noticeably increased whenever splashing occurred.

  • The air exchange rate exceeds the ASHRAE Standard 62-2001 requirement of 0.5 CFM per square foot. The VOC Eco Sensor lit one LED indicating that concentrations of VOC’s ranged between zero to twenty parts per million.




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The Recreation & Wellness Center – 1st run

  • Impressions/Conclusions:

  • I used the supply duct at the floor level to obtain some measurements. These ducts aren’t connected with the supply air in the ceiling, therefore they’re not a full indication of the quality of supply air.

  • The room felt and smelled better than it did during my previous measurement. It may have been because of the higher air velocities around the room.

  •  surface temperatures in the room were adequate more varied, but adequate to avoid formation of condensation.

  • Carbon dioxide levels were higher.

  • The air exchange rate exceeds the ASHRAE Standard 62-2001 requirement of 0.5 CFM per square foot. The VOC Eco Sensor lit one LED indicating that concentrations of VOC’s ranged between zero to twenty parts per million.


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Conclusion

Testable Hypothesis

The VOC level is too high for humans.

Conclusion

The VOC level in the swimming pool rooms are low enough to consider the IAQ as adequate. The VOC detector displayed one lit LED, indicating a zero to low quantity of VOC’s in each room.


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Remedies

Suggested improvements to the swimming pool room:

  • New return air inlets pull in the air at the floor and water surface level.

  • Some supply air should continue to be directed over the water surface to move contaminated air toward the return air ducts.

  • Apply new finishes to the interior for easier clean up and maintenance of water salts.