danger chlorine

Many years ago, we had a sales rep who took great pride in his home swimming pool. He did all the maintenance himself, and was a top customer at his local pool supply store. Being an engineer, and also knowing some chemistry, he figured that the chemicals obtained on the residential market were overpriced and less effective than what is used in municipal chlorination.

Taking advantage of his business address being located in an industrial park, he purchased a cylinder of chlorine, along with a municipal style chlorinator. Only, he got a cheap, off-brand chlorinator—reasoning that his small demands could be met with an inexpensive unit.

Once he installed everything, he would call and regale us with stories about how easy this process was, and how his pool was absolutely crystal-clear. Indeed, it looked better that it had ever looked, and also looked better than nearly any other pool he had ever seen.

A few months later, I was speaking to this rep and asked him about his pool. There was a pause before he replied. “Well,” he said, “there was a problem.” Intrigued, I asked him to continue. He told me that he had been away for several days and when he came back, he figured he should check on his chlorination system. Much to his shock, the cheap chlorinator had developed a (thankfully) slow leak, and had emptied the entire cylinder into the air, while also chlorinating the pool.

Amazingly, no neighbor complained of any chlorine odor, and no apparent harm was done. Straightaway, he took down the entire system, and disposed of it in a safe and discreet manner. He certainly realized that absent his incredible good fortune, he could have had a disaster on his hands.

We never discussed the matter again.

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