KINGSPORT — Legion Pool should re-open on Thursday. That’s the plan anyway.
"It may be a little later on Thursday, but our hope is to be back open that day," said Kitty Frazier, parks and recreation director.
Kingsport officials announced last week Legion Pool would be closed Monday through Wednesday of this week in order to repair a section of pipe where massive amounts of leaking was taking place. Since June 9, the daily loss of water had grown from 55,000 gallons per day to nearly 93,000. Typically, the 37-year-old pool loses around 30,000 gallons of water a day.
On Monday, the Public Works Department began repairs on the problematic section of pipe - a 12-inch cast iron pipe located in the pump house, the main return line for the pool. Water enters the pool on the diving well end, comes into the pump house through drains and skimmers, is filtered and treated with chemicals and is then pumped back into the pool via the return line.
"The damage has been on the return line at a connection joint. We’re having to replace the connecting flange and pipe area to stabilize it," Frazier said. "They removed some of the fittings (Monday morning) and are in the process of replacing the pipe. We’ll have to order some parts and those will be here (Tuesday morning) and then we’ll continue with replacing the damaged pipe."
Initially, city officials hoped welding the pipe would solve the problem, but on Monday after work began, crews realized the pipe would have to be replaced.
"I don’t know if it’s ever been replaced," Frazier said.
If the repairs are successful, Parks and Recreation will start re-filling the pool on Wednesday and be open at some point on Thursday. No excavation work took place on Monday.
"That was going to be Plan B if this (repair) doesn’t work. We feel fairly confident we’ll be able to repair it by replacing these particular pieces, and reassembling them," Frazier said. "If this doesn’t work, that’ll require digging down to the original lines, possibly bypassing it and creating a new line into the pump house."
For years now, Legion Pool has been deteriorating and each season repairs are made to keep the facility up and running for the community, everything from painting and minor patching to major structural work or system replacement work. Last year Legion Pool suffered from a nagging, cloudy water issue that caused the pool to be closed intermittently for weeks during some of the hottest days of summer.
"(Repairing the leaks) is a process of elimination," Frazier said. "We know of this one, it’s an obvious leak and we can identify and fix it. We know there are additional issues - surface cracks in the walls and the shell, old pipes; some leaks may be underground and we’re not able to track a source for them."
Under state regulations governing water accounting and loss, the Parks and Recreation Department must pay for water provided by the city water department. For the first month of operation, Legion Pool had a $9,000 water bill. Frazier said the amount this month could be as much as three times that amount.
To fill Legion Pool costs between $5,000 and $6,000.
Water from the pool, including the leaking water, goes back into the city’s sanitary sewer system and is pumped to the wastewater facility for treatment.