Cracks, foundation woes could mean leak

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 29, 2002

Ted West of American Leak Detection in Jackson inspects the City Pool Thursday to determine an estimate for detecting any leaks and repairing the cracks in the bottom of the pool. (The Vicksburg Post/C. TODD SHERMAN)

[03/29/02] The six-year-old, $1.4 million swimming pool at City Park has problems either the foundation is causing cracks or cracks are harming the foundation but either way, complete repairs will cost $46,000.

The estimate is within money budgeted $10,000 for foundation repairs and $39,000 for pool repairs, said Craig Upton, Vicksburg Parks and Recreation director.

The figures came from estimates given by a city maintenance manager, he said, adding he hopes work will get under way quickly. “I’d just like to hurry up and get it done,” he said.

The outdoor pool is the only public pool in the city and operates during warm months.

“There’s a pretty good hypothesis the pool is leaking,” said Sylvia Gurtowski, pool director. Gurtowski said a marshy area on the northwest side of the pool was the first indication the pool was losing water.

Other problems are hairline cracks lining the bottom of the pool and large cracks in the concrete that are slowly but progressively getting worse.

Upton said the problem could be loosely packed soil.

“The ground may be settling under the cracks,” he said.

Additionally, a faucet used to fill the pool won’t turn off yet the pool won’t overflow, despite the nearly 360 additional gallons of water it’s pumping in daily.

“You’d expect some overflow but we never had that,” said Gurtowski.

She said in the last few weeks, she’s managed to get the flow down from one gallon every minute and 15 seconds to one gallon every 4 minutes.

She said water could have caused the flowing faucet to rust, along with the fact it’s bent from children pulling on it while in the pool. Upton said a pool service gave an estimate of repairing the faucet, pool cracks and also cleaning up pool stains to be around $2,000.

Before the pool opened in 1996, Vicksburg had gone several years without a public swimming pool. Two post-war pools had been built near the city’s segregated high schools, but the second and last of those to close, at Lane’s Hill, was shut down due to leaks and the cost of repairs about 1992.

Since the new pool was built with bond issue money, schools have established swim teams and competitive meets have been held, bringing thousands of people to the city. There has been talk of enclosing the pool to allow year-round use, but bids have not been taken on that project.

Ted West of American Leak Detection conducted a preliminary repair assessment Thursday. It’s not known when a quote will be available, Upton said.

Other problems with the complex include a shifting of the northwest patio, which has caused the gate door to scrub the cement when opening and closing it.

“It’s gotten so bad you can hardly shut the gate,” said Gurtowski.

Also, on the patio wall, a crack that began as a hairline crack is now a half an inch in its widest spot.

Walter Bliss of the city public works department said the patio will have to be broken up and pulled out. Sand will also be brought in instead of dirt to brace it, he said.

“You can see the dirt is not compacted or there’s water getting in under (the patio) and washing it out,” he said.

“It’s shifted the whole west side of the pool area looks like it’s settled down.”

He said he would most likely do the cosmetic repair work, which should only take a week if he has help.

Gurtowski said the problems were not evident when she began working at the pool in June 1998, but estimates the pool has had foundation problems for two years. They have become worse in the last nine months, she said.

The pool will officially open May 25. The local swim team could begin practicing as early as May 1, said Gurtowski. However, she said it won’t be a problem if repairs aren’t finished by then.

“This problem could possibly wait until the swim session is over because it’s been a slow progression,” she said.