Insurance covered wading pool damages

In a couple of instances last summer, a malfunction of the Woodburn Aquatic Center’s chemical treatment system resulted in the over-discharge of muriatic acid into the wading pool. Muriatic acid is commonly used to maintain proper pH levels in swimming pools, however excessively high levels can produce noxious fumes and damage to the pool’s surface. Unfortunately, the low pH condition we experienced did, in fact, damage the wading pool’s plaster surface.

The damage was severe enough that the pool had to be re-surfaced. Fortunately, the City’s property insurer considered the damage a covered loss. After the policy’s $1,000 deductible was applied, the City was reimbursed for $8,580 of the expenses.   

Given the fact that the exact cause of the malfunction could not be determined, Aquatic Center management decided to convert the facility’s pH control process over to a carbon dioxide system. Carbon dioxide injected into swimming pool water has the same pH lowering effect that muriatic acid does, but without the same potential for creating noxious fumes and damaging pool systems and equipment. The conversion was completed earlier this fall and has been working very well ever since.

A review of these incidents and the facility’s maintenance needs resulted in staff concluding that improvements to the Center’s preventive maintenance program were warranted. For years, pool equipment maintenance activities have been conducted by a commercial provider. However, it became apparent that the cost, quality and frequency of service could be improved by hiring a part-time pool operator. In late July, the Aquatic Center hired a pool operator with the necessary certifications, as well as significant experience maintaining aquatic facility systems, including swimming pool equipment, HVAC, fitness equipment, lighting, electrical, plumbing, etc.

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