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Electrodes and pool water

September 26, 2016 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 94, Issue 38

Through the use of special electrodes to electrolyze saline solutions, a composition with high antimicrobial activity can be generated. The first such data were reported at the 157th ACS National Meeting in 1969 in Minneapolis (see also Sci. Total Environ. 1987, DOI: 10.1016/0048-9697(87)90045-3). It was possible to form chlorine, as well as ozone. Sodium chloride may be added directly to the pool, or a reservoir of saline may be used, with the result fed into the pool’s recirculation system.

In one example, this method was applied to a high school swimming pool during a two-day swim meet. Samples for coliform were taken throughout that time. Each analysis showed that the counts were of drinking water quality.

Because ozone breaks down organic compounds, in all likelihood, the problems cited by Celia Arnaud in “What Lies Beneath” about the formation of chemical by-products in swimming pools (C&EN, Aug. 1, page 28) might be eliminated. The electrodes are stable at high voltage and amperage. It is worth noting that, per one view, chlorination of organic compounds in the presence of ozone does not occur.

I. J. Wilk
Menlo Park, Calif.


Aug. 15/22, page 19: A Policy Concentrate incorrectly identified David Allen’s position at the University of Texas, Austin. He is a chemical engineering professor, not a chemistry professor.

Aug. 15/22, page 24: A feature story on tattoo ink incorrectly attributed statistics to the Joint Research Council. The statistics should have been attributed to the Joint Research Centre.

Aug. 29, page 6: A Science Concentrate about an improved synthetic route to ryanodol incorrectly stated that Pierre Deslongchamps’s group at the University of Sherbrooke first reported a synthesis of ryanodol in 1990. The synthesis was actually first reported in 1979 (Can. J. Chem., DOI: 10.1139/v79-547). The full paper on the synthesis was published in 1990.



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