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August 2015 Edition
Focus Topic: Major Maintenance & Renovations

Andy’s Corner – When to Repair vs Replace

Ideas for Smaller Commercial Pools

Captain Aquatics on Permits

“Nina Cohones reporting from another glamorous night on the red carpet at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in Hollywood! We’ve chatted with so many C-list stars, but the most important person is yet to arrive. Oh, wait, here he comes now… The model citizen, the master of the Model Aquatic Health Code, with a super-model on each arm, Captain Aquatic.

“Captain Aquatic, will you permit me to ask a few questions? Are you just thrilled about tonight’s premiere?”

“Well, when Ant-Man got a movie, I knew they were running our of superheroes. So I’m not surprised I got a turn.”

“Who designed your suit, Captain? You look fantastic!”

“Um, my suit is made by Michigan Rubber and Gasket over on 19 Mile Road. I have a closet full of them.”

“Early reviews look quite promising! Any last words before the show begins?”

“Since you’re obviously curious about permits, designs, and reviews, I might as well tell you about section 4 of the Model Aquatic Health Code, Facility Design Standards and Construction. It will only take a few minutes.”

“Uh, well, Gary Busey is waiting…”

“Great. People are always asking me, ‘Captain, do I need a permit for that?’ You nearly always need a permit for new construction or substantial alterations. Simply replacing existing equipment with similar equipment does not require a permit. But, let’s talk big renovations.

“Basically, you need to consider substantial renovations as if they were new construction. That means plans and permits. So, for example, if you are just upgrading to a more energy-efficient heater, go ahead and plop it in there. However, if your new heater requires you to move around your pumps and filters, you’ll need a permit and schematic for the enhanced equipment room.

“You seem confused, Nina. Let’s start with requirements for brand new construction. From there you’ll have an idea of what’s needed for your renovation project.

“The MAHC requires plans prepared by a licensed design professional, and Read the rest of this entry »

Are Cast Iron Pipes Costing You Money?

PVC, or polyvinyl chloride. Many of us cannot remember a time when this material was not used for piping for sewer, non-potable water, rigid conduit and other very common building materials. However, the fact is that PVC has not been around all that long in the main stream of building technology.

PVC was discovered on accident by the French physicist Henri Victor Regnault in 1938 and again by Germany’s Eugen Baumann in 1872. PVC was first patented by the German chemist Friedrich Heinrich August Klatte in 1912 and was used sporadically (and unsuccessfully) for industrial applications. It was not until 1926 that Waldo Lunsbury, working for the B.F. Goodrich Company in the good ol’ US of A, produced what is now referred to as plasticized PVC while trying to invent a polymer that would bond rubber to metal. It is widely accepted hat that PVC pipe was not used as a mainstream building product until the late 1950’s until as late as the mid 1960’s in the United States.

You might be saying at this point, “Okay, professor, why the history lesson about PVC in a pool blog in a month where we are supposed to be talking major renovations?”

Well, just how old is your pool? Anyone that has been around the industry for any amount of time knows EXACTLY what happens to ductile iron or cast iron pipe when it is exposed to pool water….or namely, the chlorine contained in that water. Up until the time that PVC went mainstream here in the States, cast iron (followed closely by ductile) are EXACTLY what were used to pipe swimming pools. With us sitting here in 2015, if your pool was built in 1955, you potentially have iron pipe in the ground that has seen 60 years’ worth of exposure to chlorinated water. “Yikes” does not quite cover it.

In the past several years in Michigan, there has been a rash of cast iron surge tank failures as well as ruptured iron pool lines in the commercial aquatics industry. If your pool has an auto-fill that is functioning properly, you may not even notice that you are losing water until a review of the water bill (if applicable) is done by the bean counters at your facility. If you’re on a private or municipal well, you may NEVER know, unless you can trace a dramatic rise in your chemical costs.

Not only is major water loss a strain on your budget, it can also have negative effects on the structure of your pool and other plumbing. This water can begin to wash out sub-base that the pool structure bears on or wash out process pipe trenches causing structural cracks and/or failures and ruptured pipes. Having an issue with flow? If your return line is cast iron from the 50’s I can almost guarantee that the interior diameter is about HALF of what it was when thatmaterial was installed. This puts stress on your motor / impeller and can lead to issues with your local/state DEQ if you are unable to maintain your mandated flow rate.

There is no good way to replace a main drain line. Many of you that have been through the process of converting a single suction main drain pool to a dual main drain suction can attest to just how involved this process is. The fact is that this type of construction may just not be feasible due to budget constraints, location constraints of the pool (indoor or land locked) or other factors. The same can be said for return piping and gutter piping. If your pool is indoors and there is not access tunnel, around the pool, a large portion of your deck will have to be removed to rectify this issue.

What do you do? Where to go from here? Read the rest of this entry »

Test Drive a Defender RMF

Thinking about adding a Defender filter? Watch this video to take it for a test drive.

Energy savings for public pools in Washtenaw County

Chicago to Overhaul 141 Pools

If you think renovating one pool is a challenge read this article from Pool & SPA News about how Chicago is going to overhaul 141 pools.

by Stephanie Mills

Chicago is undertaking energy efficiency upgrades on many of its aquatics centers in a program that could serve as a model for other cities.

The Chicago Park District put an agreement into place for aquatics centers under its purview: The Chicago Infrastructure Trust will upgrade the district’s aquatics centers for energy efficiency. In February, CIT will seek a similar deal with the Chicago Public Schools Board of Education.

“The project provides for a better experience at the pools for the citizens of the city and the students,” said Steve Beitler, CEO of CIT.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel created CIT in 2012 to find alternate financing for infrastructure projects in the city. Energy efficiency seems to be high on its list of priorities: To date, CIT has one other project under way: retrofitting 60 municipal buildings for energy savings.

CIT is expected to perform intensive energy audits on all 141 aquatics centers held by Parks and the schools. The audits will help officials determine a list of projects to consider, with those yielding the highest return on investment to be chosen.

Renovations could be made to the pools, with changes such as pump or filter upgrades, or to the facilities, with the addition of new windows, solar panels, boilers and other energy-saving components. Read the rest of this entry »

Canton’s Summit Aquatic Center Faces 5 Week Shutdown

Story by Darrell Clem,

Canton’s Summit on the Park, a popular, 6,000-member recreation center, will shut down its aquatics area for five weeks starting Sept. 7 to accommodate a $700,000 renovation.

The shutdown affects all pools, aquatic center locker rooms, the sauna and the steam room as work crews make repairs to the Summit, nearing its 20th year next January.

Despite the five-week disruption that ends Oct. 11, Canton Leisure Services Director Debra Bilbrey-Honsowetz said the renovations will improve the Summit – a facility that draws about 500,000 visitors a year, including repeat customers.

“It’s going to be better,” she said.

Bilbrey-Honsowetz said the renovations signal the second-biggest project since the Summit opened in January 1996. The largest involved a building expansion in 2002.

The project involves these renovations:

• Improving aquatics center locker rooms and renovating showers to make them more private.

• Painting the aquatics center’s steel supporting structures and ceiling and repairing its tiles.

• Resurfacing a water slide that is a Summit favorite for children.

• Dismantling and removing two large tank-like sand filters that serve the aquatics area and bringing in replacements that are smaller and more efficient.

“It will save us a lot on water, electricity and Read the rest of this entry »

There’s an Elephant in the Pool

Amazing Video! First Elephants Swimming Pool at Fuji Safari Park in Japan
This huge elephant swimming pool is allowing Japanese zookeepers better understand how pachyderms move in water.