Port Townsend pool has another mechanical mishap, but spare part saves day
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John Merchant, left, and Mike Bartkus inspect a new impeller prior to its installation in the Mountain View Pool in Port Townsend. Charlie Bermant/Peninsula Daily News

By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News

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PORT TOWNSEND — A broken part in the main pump of the aging Mountain View Pool could have shut down the facility for weeks if not for a spare part that was in storage.

“We caught a break,” said Development Services Director Rick Sepler of the latest in a series of pool equipment repairs.

“We had one on hand. It would have taken us weeks to order and install a new impeller.”

The impeller, a reverse propeller that draws water into the pump system, failed Friday morning and caused a loud noise, according to pool manager Anji Scalf, leading to the closure of the pool.

The part was replaced two years ago — which is its approximate lifespan, according to Sepler.

At that time, the city purchased a spare for the $700 part anticipating this problem, but pool personnel were unaware of this until they contacted the wastewater department.

The part had to be lathed in order to fit, but it was installed without incident and the pool reopened at 5 p.m.

The pool is located at 1919 Blaine St.

Sepler said this was fortunate because of open swims scheduled for 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday and from 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday, as well as a child’s birthday party.

“We didn’t want to have to cancel the party because those kind of things are really important,” Scalf said.

This is the latest in a series of required repairs for the 50-year-old pool, which is beyond its useful life but cannot be replaced.

A plan to build an aquatic center in Kah Tai Park was abandoned in 2011, and since that time, the city has replaced several components as they break.

In March 2013, the pool reopened after a five-month closure where the liner was replaced, a process that cost $170,000.

The pool still requires about $300,000 in repairs that must take place in the next few years for mechanical and accessibility upgrades, according to City Manager David Timmons.

The city is looking for a partnership with the YMCA or another recreational entity to support pool maintenance, Timmons said.

Once a scheduled heating and cooling system repair is finished later this year, a holding tank in the pump room can be replaced, which will allow easier access to the pump mechanism, Sepler said.

The presence of the tank made this week’s repairs more difficult since the pump mechanism wasn’t easily accessed, Sepler said.

Once the tanks are removed the area can be re-plumbed so the water comes in below the pump, which will cause less stress on the mechanism. Sepler said.

“By replacing the tanks, we will correct a design flaw,” Sepler said.

Scalf said that when a part begins to fail, it causes strain on other areas of the pump, wearing them down.

Unlike the failed part, the new impeller has a ceramic coating that will extend its life, she said.

On May 5, the Jefferson County YMCA began a feasibility study to gauge public reaction to the construction of a new facility.

One of the proposed locations is adjacent to the current pool.

If a new YMCA is constructed, the existing pool would be renovated or a new one built, but this will depend on available funding, according to YMCA Executive Director Erica Delma.

For more information or pool schedules, call 360-385-7665 or visit www.cityofpt.us/pool.htm.


Jefferson County Reporter Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or at charlie.bermant@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: May 11. 2014 7:37PM
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