Of Public Swimming Pools
by Daniel Finlayson
Assessing the Acoustic Environment of Public Swimming Pools
Diploma in Acoustics and Noise Control
Leeds Metropolitan University, Leeds, LS1 3HE
Statement of Aims and Objectives
Pool 1 Description
Pool 2 Description
Evaluation and Discussion
Conclusions and Critical Assessment
This study area was chosen in response to growing concerns within the Local Authority regarding the noise exposure at work of swimming pool attendants and the environments therein. The noise levels and reverberation times were measured at two different swimming pools in the Lancaster/Morecambe area using a sound level meter and a frequency analyser.
Reverberation times were also taken for each pool area to determine decay times using a popping balloon to determine the suitability of the room for the purposes of speech intelligibility and therefore good communication between visiting patrons and also, more importantly, between staff and patrons.
The results of the study were compared with one another and attempts were made to correlate any dissatisfaction that the staff had regarding the level of noise in the pool they were tending with the levels of absorption present in each swimming pool environment. Conclusions were also made regarding the overall risk of hearing damage to the employees as a result of exposition to the poolside environment, and the value, if any, of acoustically treating the pool environment to increase the sound absorption in an attempt to reduce any undesirable acoustic affects.
Conclusions drawn from this study were that pool 1 required acoustical remedial action and possibly behavioural alterations while pool 2 did not. Pool 2 performed well throughout the monitoring periods and there was little value in acoustic treatments while pool 1 performed poorly in relative terms. It is noted that larger pools that are acoustically treated that employ good acoustic planning perform well against smaller pools that have minimal acoustic treatment.
Statement of Aims and Objectives
The aim of this project, in broad terms, is to determine whether the acoustic environments of the chosen swimming pool halls are suitable for good speech intelligibility between pool users, between staff, and perhaps most importantly between staff and pool users and to assess whether there is a risk of hearing damage for staff. This will allow for a judgement to be made on whether the environments need any remedial treatment to improve the existing acoustical climate. Remedial action will be suggested should it be necessary and proportionate to the individual hall.
To take that further the objective is to agree access to both pools with the management within the facilities and conduct monitoring at periods during typical busy swimming period (weekends/special offer times etc.). Once this has been agreed, frequency analysis, to be used for reverberation time measurements and standard A-weighting measurements will be taken and analysed compared with one another. Suggested remedial action will then be discussed for both pool halls.
All equipment was up to date with their respective calibration where necessary.
Rion NL-31 Type 1 Sound Level Meter
NC-74 Sound Calibrator
CEL-593 Type 1 Sound Level Meter
Norsonic 121 Sound Analyser
CEL-284/2 Acoustical Calibrator (114db @ 1KHz)
Manfrotto Professional Tripod - Art 144 (over 1.5m height when fully opened)