Pool parties have been cancelled. Kids, out of school for the summer, ask to go to the Jeffersonville Community Pool, but they will have to wait.
The wait, they hope, won’t be long.
After springing a leak before opening Friday, May 26 for the season, the community swimming pool in Jeffersonville is now on schedule to open Father’s Day weekend.
Most everyone in Jeffersonville is talking about the pool’s closure. For kids in the area, the pool is one of the only summer activities available aside from the park and library.
The Jeffersonville Community Pool has been described as a mainstay of the village and the county, especially after the community pools in Washington Court House were removed.
“My brother was hoping I could take him to the pool for his birthday yesterday,” 5-year-old Jordyn Allen said Thursday at her grandmother’s house in Jeffersonville.
Her brother, 4-year-old Jaden, and grandmother Anita, are among the 9,000 people who could be affected by the pool’s closure. That’s how many people, according to Jeffersonville Mayor Bob Kinzer, visited the pool last year.
The pool takes four-to-five days to fill up with water, said Kinzer, and was completely filled the Friday before it was scheduled to open. Employees were conducting the essential pre-opening inspection. Everything was on schedule for a Memorial Day weekend opening when the leak was noticed.
“I came by Saturday (May 20) just to look at things, because I go around town often just to look around, and I noticed (the pool water) had dropped about six inches. I told the guys, we got a problem,” said Kinzer.
The pool lost about 20,000 gallons of water each day from the leak before the water was shut off.
The problem wasn’t easy to fix. Employees knew there was a leak but the leak itself wasn’t visible. They knew the water was leaking out of the pool somewhere because it was making its way through the drain system and out into the creek.
“Everybody offered to help find the leak,” said Kinzer. “We had a lot of people try to help, including village council and myself.”
Since the leak couldn’t be traced easily, a professional leak detective was brought in to find the leak, according to Kinzer. The professional used leak detecting equipment, with a device similar to a metal detector, to listen to the walls of the pool for the sound of leaking water.
The leak was discovered inside the wall along the bottom inside seam of the stainless steel gutter system. Water was going behind the metal plating and into the drain system behind the wall and from there draining into the creek.
The stainless steel gutter system is along the edge of the pool and circulates the water back to the filter house to be cleaned. Kinzer said the stainless steel gutter system is about 20 years old, but for stainless steel, he said the material should have lasted longer before needing repaired.
The pool itself holds about 200,000 gallons of water but was drained so electrical equipment and a scaffolding system could be used in the area to make repairs.
The repairs on the leak were completed Thursday, Kinzer said, leaving about a three-foot area of the stainless steel gutter wall that had to be welded back together.
Employees will begin cleaning out the pool area within the next few days and the re-fill process will begin. Once the pool is re-filled, the Fayette County Health Department will be called to do a health inspection.
So long as things go well with the re-fill and the health inspection, the pool is expected to be open for business Father’s Day weekend, but Kinzer said it’s possible that once the pool is filled and the pump turned on, the pressure could cause another seam in the gutter system to rupture.
Kinzer and other locals are hoping that isn’t the case.
“In these small communities, this pool is a lifeline,” said Kinzer.
For 4-year-old Jaden, the pool’s closure meant having his birthday party this year at Chuck E. Cheese’s.
“I think it kind of hurts the kids,” said his grandmother Anita, but the kids were still laughing and having a good time at home in Jeffersonville. According to Jaden’s older sister Jordyn, though, as soon as the pool opens the summer officially begins.