Oak Harbor pool may close for several days in November for repairs

Oak Harbor’s pool could be closed for several days next month for heater repairs.

The staff at the John Vanderzicht Memorial Pool recently discovered two cracks in the heat exchangers of the heating units that warm the building. When the damage was discovered, the heat was shut off for several days last week while the staff researched a possible solution.

Bill Walker, executive director for North Whidbey Park and Recreation District, said the lack of heat causedsome chilly days. The only source of heat for the building was the 82-degree water that fills the pool. Those cracks left staff concerned about carbon monoxide levels.

After researching the problem, the heat was eventually turned on temporarily and a carbon monoxide sensor was placed near the cracks. Staff will also regularly monitor levels around the swimming area.

He said he is still researching bids, but Barron Heating and Air Conditioning estimated the project will cost the district $23,500 and Walker said other estimates seem be above and below the $20,000. Walker said if the estimate looks to be greater than $20,000, then the park district will have to undergo a formal bidding process to replace the heating units. He said he’s talked to professionals who’ve agreed the heating units need to be replaced.

Walker hopes the work to replace the heating units will take place in November. Because it is a cooler time of the year and the air circulation system will be shut off, staff is considering whether to close the pool for a couple of days during the project. Because of the lack of air circulation, there is a concern chloramine levels could elevate around the pool surface, which could cause irritation for swimmers.

The faulty heat exchangers is the latest of a number of maintenance issues that have cropped up in recent months.

Patrons complained several months ago about the air quality inside the pool building. Staff determined that maintenance on the facilities HVAC system hadn’t been completed since May of 2011. Workers found that some of the filters were covered with an inch of dirt.

The park district paid Barron Heating and Air Conditioning approximately $3,000 to conduct maintenance to the HVAC system and to make repairs to the boiler.

In addition the park district also had to shell out $1,700 to overhaul the pool’s ultraviolet light system that is used to help disinfect the pool water.

“A lot of money has been spent on maintenance that hasn’t been made in the last year and a half,” Walker said. He didn’t comment about why the maintenance wasn’t done earlier because he started his position as executive director in June 2012.

Staff is looking at whether the pool needs to close for a couple of days while the heating units are replaced. He said the public will be notified of any potential closures that may need to take place.

Some patrons hope to see the repairs made quickly, especially considering district residents recently approved a tax measure that funds the majority of the pool’s operations.

“These problems are very serious and need to be addressed immediately if you want a levy to pass,” Julie Wilson, chairperson of the committee that promoted the recent levy, said during Thursday’s North Whidbey Park and Recreation District meeting.


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