Town Talk: Annual indoor pool maintenance

Annual Indoor Pool Maintenance: Ugh. The Pool is closed! Why do they have to be closed so long?!

Each year, we drain the pool to perform maintenance tasks that need to be done without water in the pool. This is almost always more than simply performing a major scrub. It can be anything from tile to major mechanical repairs or installation of equipment to improve swimmer experience, such as the sphagnum moss system installed several years ago that decreased the smell of pool water.

This year, one of the main drain covers needs to be replaced, not that it is bad or unsafe, but because drain covers are date stamped and must be replaced every certain number of years, depending on its location, size, etc. Swimming Pools and spas are heavily regulated by the Minnesota Department of Health in order to keep people safe and limit potential pool contaminants.

But why does it have to be closed so long? Pool projects are planned and prepared in advance. Paperwork such as required permits from the Minnesota Department of Health, a requirement once anything is changed or modified in a pool or spa. Mechanical contractors are scheduled and necessary parts are ordered well in advance in preparation of the closing in order to complete them during a very short window of time; usually two to three days.

The lengthy process of refilling the pool follows the completion of repairs or upgrades. Our indoor pool holds 374,000 gallons of water. (The average household bathtub holds 80 to 110 gallons of water.) It takes approximately two full days of constant water running 24 hours a day to fill the pool. Of course, the water is very cold at first, so it takes about five days to warm the temperature to the point a person can actually tolerate the temperature. Because of the vast volume, the temperature of the pool only raises approximately 1.5-2 degrees per day. During this time, our certified pool operators work diligently on the water chemistry to restore it to its normal ranges. This includes balancing sanitizing agents, clarity, hardness, and pH levels. Again, because of the sheer volume of water in the pool, this also takes time.

We do our very best at limiting disruption of service, but any sort of pool work that requires draining requires seven to ten days of turnaround time, depending if we do a partial or full drain. The good news is that the wait will be worth the experience. A well maintained pool is a jewel to the community! We are proud to provide a safe, comfortable bather experience to our community and customers!

Editor’s Note: The City of New Ulm presents a weekly column highlighting activities in different departments in the city government. Once a month the city will answer questions from readers. Questions on New Ulm city issues can be sent to comments@ci.new-ulm.mn.us.

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