RIO DE JANEIRO (CNN) – Olympic organizers will take “extreme measures” by draining one of the pools that turned green and refilling it by Sunday morning, just a few hours before the start of the synchronized swimming events, an official said.
The nearly 1 million gallons of water in the pool at the Maria Lenk Aquatics Center, which had been used for water polo, has turned green, much like the water in the diving pool nearby.
“We have been trying to clean the pool for four days, and obviously it’s not going as fast as we want it to,” said Gustavo Nascimento, Rio 2016 director of venue management.
“We are going to grab the water from the warm-up pool, drain the water out of the competition pool and insert the water from the warm-up pool into the competition pool. The water in the warm-up pool is in perfect condition.”
The decision to drain and refill the pool comes hours after Rio 2016 spokesman Mario Andrada told reporters “extreme measures” would be taken.
Nascimento said organizers will not drain the water in the diving pool, but will instead try to improve the pool’s filters.
“There are not huge complaints about the performance of the athletes and the health and safety of the athletes” using the diving pool, he said.
So what caused the green water in the first place?
Nascimento says hydrogen peroxide may be to blame for the green coloring in the water.
“On the day of the Opening Ceremonies of the Games, 80 liters of hydrogen peroxide was put in the water. This creates a reaction to the chlorine which neutralizes the ability of the chlorine to kill organics. This is not a problem for the health of anyone.”
Even if it’s not a health problem, Andrada says this is an embarrassment for the organizers.
“We are hosting the Olympic Games,” he said. “The world is here, the best athletes are here, so the water comes to be an issue.”