Citizens of Prince Albert will soon be able to swim again.
The Frank Dunn Swimming Pool was scheduled to open its doors last week, but due to an outbreak of cryptosporidium in Prince Albert, the opening was pushed back for safety reasons.
As a safety precaution, the pool was superchlorinated to make sure there were no traces of the parasite in the system. Since so much chlorine was pumped into the system, they now need to wait until it reaches normal levels before opening.
“We haven’t been able to achieve the level that we need to get to for public health as of yet,” said Mike Hurd, SaskRivers School Division superintendent of facilities. “We need to maintain that level for 24 hours and we haven’t been able to do that just because of the volume of water.”
It takes a number of days for the levels to go back down to normal levels, which has been a challenge.
“Once we superchlorinate it for the cryptosporidium, we have to bring it back down to the levels we need it at to operate,” Hurd said “It takes a while to do that, especially with no bather load. When you have a bather load, that affects your chemicals and brings them down.”
If they were to open the pool with high chlorine levels, swimmers eyes and skin could be irritated and their swimsuits would be bleached out.
“Public Health was there this morning and they advised us to work through the weekend, keep draining some water off and trying to get our chemical levels down to where they need to be and we will reopen later next week,” Hurd said. “We have staff on all weekend, so they will work with the chemicals and they will get them dropped down so we will get the chlorine level down to where it needs to be. Our pH level needs to be as neutral as it can be. If we can maintain that for 24 hours, we will say go ahead and open.”
Hurd said they are close to those levels now, so barring any other problems, the pool should meet the requirements next week.
“Hopefully Monday morning it is good to go and when public health comes in and check it we will be able to open again,” Hurd said. “We are optimistic that early next week we can be up and running.”
There has been no evidence of cryptosporidium in the pool, so that is not why the pool was closed.
“The reason we are shut down right now is not because of the cryptosporidium, it is because the levels were high from super shocking it for the cryptosporidium,” Hurd said.
Luckily swimming lessons have not started, so the swimming programs have not been affected that much.
“Basically at this point, it has just been our public swimming, lane swimming and aquacizing,” said Curtis Olsen, City of Prince Albert recreation co-ordinator. “Lessons were supposed to start on Sunday but we will work on finding other times.”
Since lessons will only be missing one day, the instructors should be able to make up that day later in the session.
“I’m sure somewhere, either at the end of the lesson or somewhere in between to schedule that,” Olsen said. “That is all that would be affected so far. We will be closed Sunday/Monday and those would be the first two days of lessons. Hopefully on Monday they will do some more water tests and we will be open.”