During a press conference Saturday, Rio 2016 officials added to a growing list of theories about the greening water. On Aug. 5, someone accidentally dumped 160 liters of hydrogen peroxide ― the stuff you use to clean scrapes and burns ― into two pools at the Maria Lenk Aquatic Center, reported The New York Times. The mishap neutralized the chlorine’s ability to kill organics.
Hydrogen peroxide is reportedly effective at cleaning pools, but not when used together with chlorine.
Officials don’t have enough time ahead of Sunday’s synchronized swimming competition to clean the pool. So, they announced Saturday they would drain and refill the competition pool with some 1 million gallons of clear water from the nearby practice pool, The Associated Press reported. Rio 2016 spokesman Mario Andrada said the “radical measure” was necessary to ensure visibility for athletes competing in upcoming synchronized swimming events.
But a pool used for diving, whose water also turned green, would not be drained, Andrada told the AP.
“Of course it is an embarrassment because we are hosting the Olympic Games,” he told the AP. “It should be light blue, transparent. We could have done better in fixing it quickly. We learned a painful lesson the hard way.”
Olympic organizers have been scrambling to gain control of the situation since the waters of the diving pool mysteriously changed color Monday night. The nearby polo and synchronized swimming pool began its transformation on Wednesday.
Previous explanations for the water’s disgusting shade have included a “proliferation of algae” and a chemical imbalance.
On Friday, the diving pool, which one athlete said “smells like a fart,” was briefly closed. Officials have assured athletes that the green water poses no health risks.
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