published Sunday, July 17th, 2011

South Pittsburg pool getting temporary fix

By Ryan Lewis

SOUTH PITTSBURG, Tenn. — After being closed for several weeks, a temporary fix to the city’s park pool should allow residents to enjoy the last weeks of summer in the water, officials said.

South Pittsburg Parks and Recreation Director Lisa Bradford said the pool’s pump system malfunctioned last month, and when she ordered a replacement diffuser for about $600 it didn’t fit.

“We just got finished replacing the motor a little over a month ago,” she said. “We kept hammering away at it to find the correct replacement part, and because the pump system is so old they don’t make replacement parts for it anymore.”

Bradford said pool experts are suggesting “the only way to fix the problem is to replace the entire pump.”

South Pittsburg Mayor Mike Killian said a new pump system will cost about $4,600, but it should not be replaced until April 2012 due to warranty issues.

City officials think they might have a temporary answer, though.

Since the new fiberglass diffuser is too small, they either will attempt to mill the existing piece so it will fit properly or have a local company fabricate and retrofit another diffuser out of a cheaper material, officials said.

With only a few weeks left in the season, Bradford said she’d still like to get the pool open to keep from losing as much money as possible.

“One of the main problems we’ve had is canceling parties and other events at the pool,” she said. “It’s a service that the city provides, and it’s not a money-making business. It’s going to lose money, but I’m trying to keep it from losing a ton of money.”

Killian said that if “we can get it back up and running and then still go through with replacing the pump next year, I would be open to trying that. If it works, we could open the pool back up now and then do what we need to do in the spring.”

Officials said that, if the pool is reopened this summer, some costs for “start-up chemicals” will be incurred, too.

“Once the water has been stationary for a while, you do have to do all of that again,” Bradford said.

Those chemicals can cost between $1,000 and $1,300, officials said, but city leaders hope they can find a cheaper solution.

“This will at least give us some time for more options,” Killian said. “We realize that in the future that we may need to change the entire system.”

Ryan Lewis is based in Marion County. Contact him at ryanlewis34@gmail.com.

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