Swimming Pool Update, memo to the City Council

Memo from Kimberley McNeeley, Acting Director, Austin Parks and Recreation Department, to the City Council

June 4, 2018

The purpose of this memo is to provide an update regarding the maintenance, operations, and staffing associated with Parks and Recreation Department Aquatic Facilities for the 2018 summer season. The Aquatic Division has worked diligently through the winter months to prepare for the summer season. The following provides aquatic system current condition information.

Splash Pads
The Aquatic Division operates 11 splash pads, which opened on May 14, 2018. Lott Splash Pad was not operational for the opening day due to mechanical issues that have since been addressed, and it is now open to the public. Most recently, mechanical issues at both Pease and Chestnut Splash Pads have resulted in temporary closures while the issues are being resolved. We expect both Splash Pads to be repaired and operational within a week.

Givens Pool
As part of the 2014 Aquatics Assessment, Givens Pool was identified as one of seven critical pools not likely to remain operational for more than five years. A routine leak detection at the end of the 2016 summer discovered that Givens Pool was leaking in excess of 50,000 gallons per day. An engineering assessment was conducted and verified the lack of structural integrity at Givens Pool. The report recommended sealing all the cracks and joints of both sides of the floor and walls where possible. The report also recommends identifying and repairing all other leaks in the pool system in order to reduce previously described foundation movement and pressure on the pool wall.

Givens Pool was closed for the Summer of 2017 in order to make all necessary repairs to extend the life of the facility. The engineering assessment and renovations cost approximately $250,000, and was funded by the 2012 bond. Unfortunately, after this significant investment, the pool system is still currently leaking approximately
60,000 gallons of water per day. By adjusting the water levels in the pool and recapturing some of the leaking water and diverting it back into the system, the Aquatic Team has been able to reduce the water loss enough to open the pool for the 2018 season. However, it is important to note that this pool remains in critical condition. Because both bond funding and allocated repair funding from the general fund have been fully utilized or allocated, further deterioration of conditions over the summer could require a pool closure.

Mabel Davis Pool
When preparing to open Mabel Davis Pool for the Summer of 2017, it was discovered that the pool was leaking a significant amount of water. A leak test conducted just prior to the 2017 season found that the pool was leaking
219,000 gallons of water per day.

At the time of discovery the pool was closed for the 2017 season. PARD had to receive approval from the Texas
Commission on Environmental Quality before an investigation to determine the source of the leak could begin.

Portions of Mable Davis Pool, specifically the deep end, is considered to be the cap to a former landfill. After receiving approval to make cuts into the pool bottom, staff investigated the source of the leak.

Several leaks were discovered and a contractor was hired to develop a scope of work and make repairs to the pool. The contractor is currently on site finishing those repairs, and is optimistic that the repairs will reduce the amount of water lost enough to operate for the 2018 summer season. PARD estimates that all repairs will be completed by mid to late June, and the facility will be opened at that time.

Patterson Pool
The Aquatic Maintenance Team discovered a significant crack in the motor responsible for filtration during the routine pool opening maintenance conducted on June 3, 2018. Maintenance staff will work expeditiously to repair the crack; however, if the crack is an indication of a larger issue, the motor will require full replacement. Patterson pool is expected to be closed between 2 days and a full week depending upon the needed repair.

Aquatic System
Aging infrastructure and aging mechanical components continue to contribute to operational challenges and system instability. Seven pools were listed in the 2014 Aquatic Assessment as critical, and will most likely fail within the next five years, those facilities include: Civitan, Gillis, Givens, Govalle, Montopolis, Northwest, and Shipe.

Shipe and Govalle Pools have been closed due to failure, and construction for complete replacement of these facilities is scheduled to begin in the Fall of 2018. The other pools remain on the critical list and are being monitored closely by Aquatic Division Staff.

Aquatic Staffing
The Aquatic Division has made great improvements to the hiring and recruiting process for lifeguards over the past two seasons. Currently, the Aquatic Division is on track with the hiring and training of lifeguards needed for the 2018 summer season, and is optimistic that there will be no issues with staffing levels that result in pool closures. Please know that there may be features within a given pool that are not fully available due to minimum staffing levels at that specific location.

Should you have any questions, please contact my office at (512) 974-6722.

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