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Chlorine is cool to disinfect future pool

Council moves forward with design phase of project

August 23, 2019
Amy H. Peterson - Staff Writer ( , Estherville News

On Nov. 16, 2015, the Estherville City Council approved a professional services agreement with Burbach Aquatics, Inc., which covered Burbach's assistance with a multi-phase process of developing a new municipal pool.

On Monday, the council approved Phase II, the design development and construction documents phase.

City administrator Penny Clayton said in a memo to the mayor and council the fee for this phase is 7.45 percent of the construction cost plus reimbursables. Based on the current projected construction cost, the fee is approximately $285,000 and will take four months to complete.

Clayton said a committee would work on the capital campaign to finish out the project this fall and finish after construction bids come in. Excel Estherville has recommended a contribution of $150,000 and an Enhance Iowa grant could bring in a maximum of $250,000. There is no guarantee the city would receive the Enhance Iowa grant nor is there a guarantee of the amount. Enhance Iowa prefers to be the final funding for a project.

The grant and capital campaign funding covers the $564,000 not covered in the $4.1 million bond, which passed by 69 percent of a vote taken Aug. 6.

Burbach's services for Phase II include: placing advertisements in trade magazines, plan room agencies and other venues to inform as many potential bidders of the project as possible; perform a site survey; prepare a schematic design layout and up to three plan revisions; evaluate soil borings; prepare preliminary vessel plans; prepare preliminary bathhouse, mechanical and concession area plans with architectural elements; monitor any changes in construction costs; complete a structural design, design recirculation system, mechanical equipment, underground tanks and supporting subsystems, plumbing and HVAC, equipment selection, layout, electrical plans, and plans for site amenities.

Burbach will also prepare project specifications, contract and bidding documents, including bid forms, general requirements of the contract, all of which would comprise the project manual.

The Estherville News has fielded questions from readers who wonder, now that we're putting in a 21st century pool, should we choose a 21st century method of sanitizing it?

Chlorine has been the standby for sanitizing swimming pools for close to 100 years. Josh Layer of Burbach Aquatics said as much as environment-lovers and those concerned about skin allergies, etc. from chlorine have tried to innovate solutions like salt-water pools and ionization, it hasn't been possible to quit chlorine. It was at Brown University in 1911 where swimming coaches tried to sterilize their swimming pool and rid it of its, well, brown color. They called in a chemist who added bleaching powder, which had been popularly used to treat drinking water. It worked. Bacteria counts went from 700 parts per million to zero in only about 15 minutes.

Sanitation of pools became standard in just a few years, but filtration lagged behind. Diatomaceous earth filters, which rely on powdered rock to capture fine particles of pool water became popular at the end of World War II, and skimmers built into a pool and work sort of like a storm drain only came around in 1952 to trap bigger pieces of debris.

Backing up data from a pool company is the Water Quality & Health Council, an independent group sponsored by the American Chemistry Council. This band of scientists, health professionals and consumer advocates advise the Chlorine Chemistry Division of the American Chemistry Council.

Joan Rose of the Water Quality & Health Council said, "The goal of swimming pool sanitation is destroying waterborne germs. It can be carried out by adding chemicals or by subjecting pool water to ultraviolet (UV) light."

The Water Quality & Health Council provides information on common sanitizing chemicals, including chlorine-based sanitizers, chlorine generated from salt in saltwater pools, bromine (a chemical sibling to chlorine)-based sanitizers, copper and silver ions, and ozone gas.

Rose said, "Copper and silver ions have sanitizing properties, but by themselves, they are slow-acting and do not provide a reliable residual. They should be used in conjunction with chlorine, with which they act synergistically to enhance germ destruction."

In other words, independent water-quality experts in the chlorine community agree with Layer that we haven't reached the point of quitting chlorine.

Fred Reiff, P.E., a retired official from both the U.S. Public Health Service and the Pan American Health Organization, said, "Only chlorine and bromine-based sanitizers have staying power, meaning the provision of a reliable fast-acting residual that results in continuous, efficient germ control lasting past the time of application."

Reiff added that alternative pool sanitizers, including ozone, metal ions and UV, still require a secondary level of protection, most often provided by chlorine-based sanitizers.



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