Olive Branch YMCA converts to saltwater pool - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Chip Washington

Olive Branch YMCA converts to saltwater pool

Swimming can be great exercise for the total body, but there has always been one particular problem associated with the pool: chlorine.  Now, a north Mississippi YMCA is making the switch to salt water - a trend that could continue across the Mid-South.

The YMCA in Olive Branch is one of several fitness facilities across the country, and the first Y in the mid-south, to convert to a salt-water pool.

Lifeguard Kimberly Burns said many swimmers are adversely affected by chlorine.

"We have senior splash in the morning and they complain about their skin being too dry, it dries out their hair and nails and makes their eyes really red," she said.

The Executive Director of Olive Branch's YMCA, Jim Robinson, said there was more than one benefit to the change.

"We wanted to do that mainly for the skin irritation, plus our facility. We have a metal structure over the facility and just the longevity of that would be a lot longer without the chlorine," Robinson said.

The change happened a week ago. So far, it has been big hit.
 
"The biggest difference is on your eyes," Navy swimmer Stephen Windle said. "We do a lot of underwater drills without a mask and goggles, so it's a lot easier on the eyes without the chlorine,"

Lifeguard Adrienne Gard said the switch is easier financially too.

"Its a lot cheaper for us, especially since we are a non-profit organization. It has actually....it's been really great," she said.

Doctors say salt is better for the skin, hair and sinuses.

Officials will be examining data from the Olive Branch facility to determine whether it will be cost effective for all other Mid-South Y's to convert to the saltwater pools as well.


Click here to e-mail Chip Washington.

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