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City Repeatedly Drains, Refills Glenwood Pool

Aug 11, 2017

The summer swimming season at Glenwood Pool wraps up this Sunday, August 13. The facility was closed for two days this week as the city addressed a recurring problem.

Macomb’s Water Plant Manager Kent Cox said the pool’s filters are worn and do not work properly. He said they should have been replaced either last year or two years ago.

Cox said ideally filters should help keep the water pure. “When the water is pulled out of the deep end of the pool and circulated through the filters it would remove any of the sunscreen lotion, airborne dirt, leaves, anything,” Cox said.

Kent Cox stands over the pool's filter chamber. He said 10 filters are used at a time. Because of their worn condition, he has to take them out to be cleaned every few days.
Credit TSPR's Emily Boyer

But, when the filters aren’t working, the water gets cloudy. He said that can cause a safety hazard if lifeguards are unable to see the bottom of the pool.

Cox said the city has purchased new filters, but the manufacturer keeps encountering shipping delays.

In the meantime, Cox said the only way he has been able to work around the problem is to drain all the water from the pool and refill it with new water.

Cox said during the hottest weeks when the pool was the most crowded, he was having to drain it and refill it every couple of days to keep the water clear.

Cox said the pool can hold about 180,000 gallons of water. He said draining the pool takes about 4-6 hours and then refilling it takes another 3-5 hours. Cox was unsure how much exactly it cost the city to refill the pool. But he said it was likely a nominal amount since the pool water is untreated.

Cox said some days he would be able to drain and fill the pool in the evening if the Macomb Park District, which manages the facility, alerted him early enough that the water was beginning to look cloudy.  He said completing the process in the evening allowed him to have the pool ready to open again the next day without any interruption in service.

The circular filters are about three feet long. The cloth should be attached to both sides of each circular slice. But, the plastic can clearly be seen. Spares were lying on the deck because Cox said, “Every time we go to wash the filters, we end up trying to disassemble, reassemble and repair the old parts that continue to deteriorate and fail."
Credit TSPR's Emily Boyer

But the process forced the facility to be closed a handful of times this summer. Cox said that happened when he did not get a heads up the night before that the water was looking cloudy.

“I would come in to do my checks of the pool at 6:00 a.m. and find the water cloudy,” Cox said. "So that doesn’t allow me to have the pool open by noon.”

Cox said the worn filters were the biggest problem he encountered at the facility this summer. Once they are replaced, he said that he would expect operations to run more smoothly. He said despite all the hard work this year, it was worth it to see the children enjoy the pool. Cox called the facility a community asset. He said the Park District's events at the pool were well attended.

“You couldn’t have had a better summer for bathing days where the temperatures and the conditions were right and no rain outs or thunderstorms for the most part compared to bathing seasons from years past," Cox said.

After spending the summer keeping Glenwood Pool in working condition, Cox said he feels the facility still has a lot of life left.
Credit TSPR's Emily Boyer

The pool opened in early June despite concerns this spring it would not pass state inspection. It was Cox who led the effort to bring the pool online and keep it open for the summer. "Yes, [Glenwood] has some age, but it’s what we have and it’s far from the end of it’s life," he said.

This is the last summer the Macomb Park District agreed to manage the facility. Now it will be up to the city, which owns the pool, to decide how to proceed.