Lochwood pool view from office

 

The Main Pool at Lochwood has been experiencing cloudy conditions due to the chalking of the painted surface. As a result, many of you have been inquiring about what is causing this, what should you expect for the remainder of the season, what is being done to fix the problem, etc.

In an effort to keep everyone informed, we have compiled a list of questions and answers.

Why has the Lochwood Main Pool been closing frequently this season?

The main pool at Lochmere has a painted surface.  The painted surface is currently chalking due to deteriorating paint.  As people put pressure on the painted surface by walking or brushing their hands/legs across the pool bottom and walls, very thin layers of paint are detaching from the wall and becoming suspended in the pool.  As more paint detaches from the wall and enters the water, it becomes difficult for the filtration system to filter the particles, diminishing the water clarity. In some cases, the water clarity has been reduced to the point where the pool drains cannot be seen clearly by the lifeguards.

Is it really necessary to close the pool?

The State of North Carolina and Wake County pool code require the main drains at the bottom of the pool be clearly visible in order for the pool to be open. (15A NCAC 18A .2535 WATER QUALITY STANDARDS Item 2 “The clarity of the water shall be maintained such that the main drain grate is visible from the pool deck at all times”.) Due to the level of chalking that is currently occurring in the Lochwood Main Pool, the drains can become obscured, at which time the pool must be closed. 

Can we close the deep parts of the pool and keep the shallow parts open?

The pool codes do not differentiate between areas of the pool (shallow/deep).  If the main drains in the deepest part of the pool are not clearly visible, then the entire pool must be closed.

What is chalking?

Chalking is the process of very thin layers of paint detaching from the surface of the pool and becoming suspended in the pool.

What causes chalking? 

Chalking occurs as a result of the chlorinated water and associated chemicals diluting the paint. As a result, painting is no longer recommended for pool surfaces. Chalking is the last phase of a painted pool’s surface life before the pool needs to be resurfaced.

What steps are being taken to eliminate the cloudy water?

During this past off season, Lochmere upgraded the filter media to a product called Glasspack.  This type of filter media is able to remove very small particles, including the paint, as it moves through the filtration system.  When the pool is closed due to clarity issues, it takes about twelve (12) hours for the chalking paint to be filtered from the water. 

Are there any health concerns with the water quality? 

Pool paint is specifically designed to be safe for swimming.  However, some of the safety precautions used in the manufacturing of the paint make the paint more susceptible to chalking than older paints.

Will the pool have to be drained this pool season?

The pool will not need to be drained.  After a few weeks of use, the level of chalking should decrease significantly.

What is being done to fix the cloudiness now?

In order to help the filtration system remove the chalking paint from the pool, the pool is being brushed daily at closing.  This helps remove the outermost layer of flaking paint.

What are the long-term plans to fix the problem?

To fix the pool surface issue permanently, the pool needs to be sandblasted to remove the paint and resurfaced with plaster.  Pending Board approval, it is likely the Main Pool will be resurfaced in the 2017-2018 off season, resolving the chalking issue. This process has already occurred at the Lochwood lap pool and Highlands.

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