May 8, 2023
Beede Center Pools closed until further notice
May 22, 2023
Beede Center Community,
We want to provide you with an update on the Beede Center pools. We are still getting results that show combined chlorine levels fluctuating above state code. The code limits pools from being open if the combined chlorine levels are above .2 and even after aggressive treatment, the pools still show combined chlorine levels higher than the code allows. We continue to work closely with consultants who can help us navigate this issue and are grateful for their guidance and knowledge. To make this closure even more challenging, this is an incredibly busy time of year for pool companies, making their availability to support us on-site, return calls for service, inspect the equipment, and provide quotes for work and equipment even more delayed.
We were advised to apply a chemical treatment to reduce phosphates (which can contribute to combined chlorine) in the pools on Friday afternoon. The application takes 2 days to reach its maximum capability. As of noon time today, we’ve received water samples back for two of the four pools that tell us the phosphates have come down but not to the desired levels. We will be applying a stronger dose of the treatment to the water today and will await results on Wednesday/Thursday. Once the phosphates are at the desired levels, we will do one more chlorine-based shock to see if the combined chlorine gets removed.
What will we do next:
If the combined chlorine is not removed after the phosphate reduction and shock, we will drain all of the pools and refill with fresh water.
To help answer some questions and curiosities about what our team has been doing to combat this issue, we’ve created a question/answers list below:
1) Why have you waited this long to consider draining the pools?
We drained the children’s pool when this started to see if that was the quickest solution and even with fresh water, the combined chlorine returned within a few days. The same thing happened when we drained most of the water in the warm water pool. The pools, collectively, have about 450,000 gallons of water and we did not want to waste that water if we could not predict a positive outcome.
2) If you’ve already drained a pool and it didn’t help that pool, why would you consider draining all of the pools now?
The only thing that may be different if we drain all of the pools is that any air-born chloramines (combined chlorine) would be removed by removing all of the water from the natatorium. Chloramines are a type of combined chlorine that form in water and then off-gas into the air above the water. Chloramines can build up in the water, which means they can build up in the air if there is not enough fresh air surrounding pools. This is particularly true for indoor aquatic facilities where air handling systems are not bringing in enough fresh air and exhausting enough chloramine-polluted air, which is common during winter months (source: CDC website). Chloramines that off-gas from the water are heavier than air. This means they settle on top of the water’s surface.
3) Since all four pools have their own filtration and pump system and they are not sharing the same water, what other common denominators are there that would affect all four pools?
We narrowed the commonalities down to three things; water from the Town meter that is used to refill pools when the water is low, C02 gas to treat pH, and the general natatorium air.
a. Does the water from the meter present any combined chlorine?
No. The water was sent out to a lab for testing and came back with a zero combined chlorine reading. We also tested the water internally and received a zero combined chlorine reading. The water from the meter is perfect.
b. Is the C02 that feeds the pool contaminated?
No. The CO2 is used to reduce high pH in the pools and is a common application choice for pools of our size. We have received the certificate of compliance from our gas supplier showing that the gas was analyzed and passed inspections before it was put into our tank. We have also received a service record that states the tank is in good working order.
c. Are the air handling units working correctly to assure the chloramines are being exhausted?
We had two companies come in for inspections; the manufacturer of the air handling units and the company that services the control system. After working with both companies and the Town’s facilities team, the inspections show that the motors are functioning fine but one of the air handling units is not exhausting the same amount of air it is bringing in. The two companies will be working directly together to rectify the issue. We will also be replacing the touch screen on AHU2 and a sensor that captures the output of the motors on AHU1.
4) Could the chlorination bins be contaminated?
Highly unlikely. To be safe, we are sourcing quotes to replace all four chlorination bins.
5) Are there any mechanical ways to remove combined chlorine?
Yes. In talking with four consulting pool maintenance companies, any pool that is newly built is now being built with UV lamps that treat the water and destroy the molecular bonds of combined chlorine/Chloramine compounds. We have requested quotes for these units and are awaiting a response. Due to the cost of these units, we expect to have to go through a formal bid process which we will proceed with once we have specifications on the units that our pools would need.
6) Do you need to replace the filter sand?
We have been told no. The filter sand was just replaced in all of the pools this past fall so the material is all new. The shock treatments that we have done in all of the pools would remove any organic or inorganic contaminates in the filter media.
7) Are the pool mechanics working correctly?
We are aware of aging valves on the main drains of the lap pool and dive well and are taking steps to replace both as soon as possible. We are also soliciting quotes to have a full mechanical audit done on all pools to help identify future replacement needs and guide capital expenses.
8) What other projects have you been able to complete while closed?
· Deep cleaning of the pool deck and deck drains throughout the natatorium.
· Deep clean of the kiddie pool and its play features.
· Deep clean of all life jackets, belts, bars, toys and class equipment.
· The prominent systems that control the chemicals in the pools were outdated and needed replacement. While the pools have been offline, we purchased and installed 4 new chemical controllers.
· Installation of a landline phone in the lifeguard office.
· New safety belts for the pool lifts.
· New flooring grates that cover the filter tanks in the mechanical room.
· Various pool vacuums have been repaired and new units have been purchased.
9) When will the members get another update?
We will continue to update our membership at a minimum every two weeks. The front desk team knows everything you know, and we will continue to keep that team of staff in the loop with any updates so they can help answer your questions.
We thank you all for your inquisitive suggestions, words of encouragement, and patience. We are truly lucky to have such a loyal and thoughtful membership base.
We are preemptively canceling the rest of the Otters Swim Team Spring season (refunds coming) and if we are not back online by June 1, 2023, we will also be refunding all spring swim lessons, masters programs, water fitness, etc. We are not currently planning to cancel any summer classes and will address the need to do so when the start dates approach. In terms of memberships:
• Full pay, annual memberships, 3-month membership, and 10 punch pass expiration dates will be extended by the number of days the pools remain closed.
• Since monthly recurring memberships do not have an end date to extend, starting June 1, monthly recurring membership prices will be processed with a 33% discount until the pools are back online. As we proceed into week 3 of our closure, we will continue to honor free day passes to Emerson Pool and White Pond this summer for the number of days the pool remains closed. We will also honor the opportunity for every recurring membership to receive free passes to drop into 2 land or waterfitness classes. Details of how to redeem these passes will be sent out soon.
We also want to remind you that your membership provides you with access to our cardio and strength rooms and our team of personal trainers would be happy to provide recommendations on land-based workout routines. Your membership continues to provide you with early registration to future programs, free special events, and discounted rates on all Beede, instructor-led classes.