Archive for Wednesday, October 2, 2002

BCRC, Baldwin City work to resolve pool problems

October 2, 2002

It's still not known for sure what caused the circulation pump failure at the Baldwin City Public Pool, according to Baldwin City Recreation Commission Director Monte Ezell, but both the city staff and the recreation commission are looking at ways to prevent it from happening again.

Ezell said chemical erosion could have been the primary cause for the pump failure, which caused the early closing of the pool in mid-August.

"There's quite a bit of debate about that," he said. "In all likelihood, it was due to chlorine."

During the summer, the recreation commission made the decision to switch from using a chlorine gas system to granular dichlor at the pool. He said the switch was made to granular dichlor to increase the ph levels and not have it as acidic as it is with the chlorine gas system.

He said he's not sure if the change caused any of the problems.

"The official statement is I don't know for sure," he said. "The breakdown was due to chemicals and trying to determine precisely what caused that, we don't know for sure. We have different opinions about that."

Another problem that could have contributed to the pump failure, Ezell said, is the powdered soda ash used at the pool.

He said the powdered soda ash clogs easily, causing some problems.

He said he believes there were several reasons the pump failed.

"Pump failures happen," he said. "This just happened sooner than we thought it should. I think it was just several contributing factors."

Ezell said the recreation commission is responsible for day-to-day maintenance and the city is responsible for major equipment and repairs.

The recreation commission and the city have agreed to split the cost to replace the $6,000 pump.

He said the failure wasn't any one entity's fault.

"I think the city's taken a bad rap for this," he said. "But stuff like this happens. The city's been working really hard, working on ways to make sure this doesn't happen again."

One of the changes the commission and the city is looking at is using something other than powdered soda ash.

"We wouldn't have some of the problems with clogging," he said.

The pool might also try using some sort of automated system with the chlorine gas as the main system and using dichlor as an additive, he said.

Operational procedures, Ezell said, as far as having guards or pool managers checking the water chemistry, could change too.

Even though the city and the commission work to maintain the pool daily, he said maintenance problems are not unusual.

"We're dealing with highly corrosive materials that can easily get out of balance," he said. "Pools are expensive, tricky operations."

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