For the Record: Science Says There’s No Way Pee Is Behind the Olympic Pool Greening AT ALL
Categories: Pop Culture

For the Record: Science Says There’s No Way Pee Is Behind the Olympic Pool Greening AT ALL

While we’d rather focus on the Olympics’ more amazing moments like Simone Manuel’s historic gold medal win or the US women’s gymnastics team living their best #girlsquad lives in Rio, we can’t help but notice (along with everyone else watching) that the pools have been turning a truly nasty shade of green. For real, eeeeeeew! And while common sense (and frantically assuring IOC officials) tells us that it’s just an unfortunate algae growth behind the putrid condition of the pools, some peeps just can’t get past the fact that it looks like a whole lotta pee. With that lovely thought in mind, here’s how much urine it would actually take to turn an Olympic pool green. You’re welcome… and we’re sorry!

The mathematically minded (and obviously mad) peeps over at Gizmodo kindly (weirdly?) crunched the numbers for us. Check it out below (or just skip to the end for the solution if you couldn’t care less about the urine-calculating formula).


Pre-urination pool (PUP) = 28% Yellow

Post-urination pool (POUP) = 31% Yellow

Estimated volume of an Olympic diving pool = 1886 cubic meters = 1,886,000 Liters (based on an estimated average depth of 4.5 m, FINA), and estimated horizontal dimensions of 18.3 × 22.9 meters (iSport Diving)

Volume of “yellow” in the pool after urine is added = 1,886,000 × 0.31 = 584,660 Liters

x = amount of water left in the PUP after draining

y = amount of urine added to the POUP

We can set up two equations:

x + y = 1,886,000

0.28(x) + y = 584,660

Now, rearrange terms and solve the system for y:

y = 584,660 – 0.28(x)

x+ (584,660 – 0.28(x)) = 1,886,000

0.72x = 1,301,340

x = 1,807,417

y = 1,886,000 – 1,807,417 = 78,583

SOLUTION: It will take a full 78,583 liters of human urine to turn the pool green.

In other words: NOT POSSIBLE!!!

So there you go. It would take a disgustingly huge amount of pee to turn the pools green. Cool new knowledge? Nope, kinda just really nasty.

Is this a fact you’re thrilled to now know? Tweet us @BritandCo!

(h/t Gizmodo)