Diver Victoria Burdett-Coutts of Pacificus Biological Services checks for leaks along a seam in the liner of Port Hardy pool Friday.

Mystery leak stymies pool staff

Elusive leak in swimming pool potential cause for concern.

PORT HARDY—A persistent and elusive leak that delayed the opening of the aging local swimming pool could leave patrons high and dry this season, depending on its source and ultimate solution, Port Hardy Recreation staff said this week.

“We can sustain ourselves to open for a short period with this much water loss, but we can’t sustain it for the long term,” aquatics director Melinda Dennison said Monday. “It’s too much water.”

The 40-year-old pool, which opened Sunday after a six-day delay, will close again this weekend while additional measures are taken to try to find the source of the leak, which was not located by a diver brought in last Friday.

Since the pool’s annual summer maintenance closure, which was plagued by major equipment failures, the facility has been hemorrhaging hundreds of litres of water each day. The scheduled Aug. 12 opening was pushed back to Aug. 18 while staff ordered non-water soluble epoxy and brought in a diver to inspect the pool’s liner.

Diver Victoria Burdett-Coutts of Pacificus Biological Services made a painstaking search of the liner Friday without locating a leak. The pool opened Sunday and will remain open through this week before shutting down again Saturday and Sunday for additional checks. But in the meantime, water must be pumped into the facility continually to keep it functional.

“The bottom line is, we’re still losing water,” said Dennison.

“We’re trying to narrow the findings to determine if (the leak) is in the plumbing or in the shell,” said Dennison. “Our plans are to re-open Monday, but the plans might change.”

The pool liner was designed for an approximately 30-year lifespan, District of Port Hardy recreation foreman Gord Wolden said. If the liner or the plumbing cannot be repaired in a cost-efficient manner, it could mean the end of the current pool. The District’s capital and maintenance budgets are not up to the cost of a new pool or major renovation at this time.

While the pool was closed this summer, its pump failed and a replacement had to be purchased and shipped from the U.S. Then, one of two hot-water boilers had to be replaced.

“It’s a 40-year-old pool,” Wolden said. “We’re doing everything we can to keep it going; that’s all we can do.”