This paper investigates disinfection by-products (DBPs) formation and their relationship with governing factors in chlorinated swimming pools. The study compares concentrations of DBPs with WHO guidelines for drinking water quality recommended to screen swimming pool water quality. The statistical analysis is based on a global database of 188 swimming pools accumulated from 42 peer-reviewed journal publications from 16 countries. The mean and standard deviation of dichloroacetic acid and trichloroacetic acid were estimated as 282 ± 437 and 326 ± 517 μg L−1, respectively, which most often surpassed the WHO guidelines. Similarly, more than half of the examined pools had higher values of chloral hydrate (102 ± 128 μg L−1). The concentration of total chloramines (650 ± 490 μg L−1) was well above the WHO guidelines in all reported cases. Nevertheless, the reported values remained below the guidelines for most of the studied pools in the case of total trihalomethanes (134 ± 160 μg L−1), dichloroacetonitrile (12 ± 12 μg L−1) and dibromoacetonitrile (8 ± 11 μg L−1). Total organic carbon, free residual chlorine, temperature, pH, total nitrogen and bromide ions play a pivotal role in DBPs formation processes. Therefore, proper management of these governing factors could significantly reduce DBPs formation, thereby, contributing towards a healthy swimming pool environment.

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