Get Home Delivery of The Observer for only $8.50 per month, $9.50 for motor routes. Just click here and after filling out one simple and secure online form you could be on your way to learning more information about local, state and world news.
Teresa Roberts, the City of La Grande’s aquatics superintendent, discusses a crack in a water filter, right, which caused flooding damage in the basement of Veterans Memorial Pool. (Chris Baxter/The Observer)
A broken water filter at the Veterans Memorial Pool complex has caused extensive damage and forced the closure of its small pool.
The small pool, which is used for water aerobics and children’s swim classes, plus recreational swims, will remain closed at least another two weeks. The closure is necessary because an 18-inch-long crack developed in one of its water filters last week. The crack caused flooding in the basement of the pool complex, which houses its operating equipment. The crack was one of the last things Teresa Roberts, the aquatics superintendent for the City of La Grande, expected.
“Pool filters are not known to split like that,” Roberts said.
Lifeguards knew something was wrong when they arrived at work at shortly before 5 a.m. last Wednesday because the depth of the small pool had fallen from 4 feet down to just about 1 foot. This meant that between 35,000 to 40,000 gallons of water had drained down to the basement.
Water was 6- to 8-inches deep in one portion of the basement and squirting out of the split filter in a big way.
Roberts believes that water had been streaming out of the 18-inch crack in the filter for about two hours before it was spotted.
The flooding damaged three electrical panels, four pump motors and the boiler that heats the large 59-foot by 75-foot lap pool at the Veterans Memorial Pool complex. The large pool cannot be heated until the damaged boiler is operating again.
The large pool will remain open despite the shutdown of the boiler, because the water temperature in the 215,000-gallon pool is not dropping quickly. It normally operates at 82 degrees but is down to about 79 degrees.
Heat loss is being minimized by keeping the air temperature of the indoor facility at 82 degrees and placing a thermal tarp over the large pool in the evening. The large pool will remain open through Friday at which time the temperature is projected to be 76 degrees.
The entire pool complex will be closed through Oct. 13 to allow for regular maintenance work and the repair and possible replacement of the damaged equipment. The pool would have been closed even if the water filter had not broken, since this time had been set aside earlier for annual maintenance work.