Centennial Pool was leaking thousands of litres of water every day this summer, according to a report from the city.
Wear, tear and cracks in the basin of the 53-year-old outdoor pool caused it to lose between 40,000-100,000 litres of water a day, said Jason Decksheimer, the city’s asset management supervisor. To put that into perspective, the pool holds 552,795 litres of water.
“The pool continued to leak significant amounts of water throughout the operating season,” Decksheimer said in a report to council.
Problems with the pool first began in 2012. The opening of the facility was delayed after city staff noticed the pool was leaking. Because of the complexity of the system and a lack of accurate construction drawings when the pool was first built, crews had a difficult time trying to identify the source of the leak.
It was eventually determined there were small leaks in several areas including the pool’s surge tank, various outlets and pipes, and in the pool basin. A large leak was also discovered in the main drains in the floor of the pool.
Decksheimer said the leaks were plugged but that ended up being just a band-aid solution.
“The pool opened late while still continuing to leak significantly through undetermined locations for the remainder of the operating season,” Decksheimer said.
After the 2012 season, the city hired a professional engineer to review the facility’s operations which revealed a number of areas where the pool was not in compliance with current B.C. Pool Regulations.
To bring the pool up to code, the city permanently sealed the main floor drains and added a new line to the circulation piping system.
“At this point it was expected that permanently sealing the pool’s 50-year-old main floor drains would solve the previous leak,” Decksheimer said. “The pool was filled in June 2013 however, the pool continued to leak water to an even worse extent than in 2012. During investigation it was discovered that the addition of the new circulation piping had hastened the deterioration of the surrounding basin concrete.”
Decksheimer said that despite repairing the leak, the pool lost thousands of litres of water during the 2013 season.
Though much of the problem was attributed to the leak, Decksheimer noted its common for outdoor pools to also lose water from uncontrolled sources such as evaporation and splash out.
However, an assessment done this fall determined the main sources of water loss are suspected to be through a large number of hairline cracks in the basin, the construction joints in the pool basin, in one of the 60 penetrations through the pool walls such as jets and skimmers, or between the pool walls and floor.
Decksheimer said council will likely need to shell out funding for repairs in 2014.
The options are: reseal the pool basin for $90,000 which will allow the pool to be operational for the next three to five years; replace the main pool basin at a cost of $500,000; or do not do any repairs, acknowledging the pool will leak up to 100,000 plus litres per day resulting in increased operating costs and accepting the potential for the leak to worsen which could result in a complete shutdown.
“The aging basin of the main pool is now 53-years-old and is coming to the end of its anticipated life,” Decksheimer said. “While short-term repairs may keep it in operation, council will need to consider the pool’s long-term viability going forward.”