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Pipe burst causes flood at Outlook swimming pool

Staff were faced with a pipe issue at the Outlook swimming pool that they'll have to keep an eye on.
File photo. Credit: Derek Ruttle/The Outlook

OUTLOOK - Staff were left cleaning up and deciding their next course of action after a pipe burst in the heated mechanical room of the Van Raay and Community Swimming Pool in Outlook caused water to flow in all manner of directions.

The Town's chief administrative officer, Kevin Trew explained what happened in an email to The Outlook, noting that the matter would also be brought up at the February 14 meeting of town council.

The incident occurred on Saturday, January 20 and was made known to town staff after water seen outside the heated building was noticed by someone. Although it was reported immediately to staff, a large amount of water had already entered the crawl spaces under and around the swimming pool, and also filled up the pool itself. It's being said that the rate at which water was flowing from the pressurized burst pipe was fast, and CAO Trew says that the Town estimates that the burst may have taken place at least one full day before it was noticed.

Acting quickly, town staff were able to shut off the valve to stop more water from escaping and the clean-up began immediately afterward. In addition to using municipal equipment, the Town also called for assistance from local contractors, some which specialize in immediate clean-up. One thing that was of particular concern was that water was in areas that were winterized, and the freezing and thawing of water might possibly cause more pipes to burst and damage infrastructure of the swimming pool, including the liner.

After carrying out an investigation, it was found that a series of events had occurred that led to the pipe burst. The furnace in the mechanical room had stopped working, which then caused the temperature in the room to plummet, leading to the water supply in the pipe freezing and causing expansion, resulting in the burst. With all Town public works and recreation staff having checklists and monitoring lists that they perform on a regular basis, checking the furnace in the mechanical room had occurred during the recent cold weather snap and was found to be working at that time.

The Town is planning to install alert systems so that when/if the temperature in the mechanical room falls below a certain number, staff will be alerted. As well, it's expected that work will be done this summer to ensure that a valve on the water line to the building can be isolated and shut off seasonally.

Trew says that while this event was certainly a big concern and will make the upcoming pool season challenging, the Town has insurance for such an occurrence and a claim has been made regarding the initial damage and clean-up. It's expected that the full extent of the damage will make itself known in mid to late April as the spring season brings warmer temperatures, and the Town continues to monitor the area as they've done all they can to mitigate further damages so that the area can be assessed, repaired and maintained in order to go forward to provide pool services this coming summer.

For the time being, the pool system is being monitored as staff begin to plan for the 2024 season. Once the full extent of the damages is known and a timeline is established regarding the opening of the pool for the season, the Town will be able to alert stakeholders if there are any changes. While there are a number of contingency plans already figured out in the event that there are any disruptions to the season, the Town remains cautiously optimistic that there won't be any such disruptions and only being prudent in their planning.

CAO Trew asks that if anyone has any further questions regarding the swimming pool, he is available for comment, as is Megan Anthony, the Director of Community Development.