By Jeffrey Heyden-Kaye
Take a dive in the deep diving pool at the Ponoka Aquaplex right now and you might find yourself a similar flattened version of Wile E Coyote after a tumble off a cliff.
All the pools in the aquaplex have been completely drained to do some necessary maintenance. Pool staff closed doors to the public on Aug. 29 and began a campaign of cleaning, updating and replacing equipment vital to daily operations.
“We usually only do two weeks, but we weren’t sure how long it would take to get new pipes in the system,” says Jackie Olson, aquaplex operator.
The new pipes and valve system help aquaplex staff operate the complex filtration system to keep chemicals in the water at safe levels. Olson explains that with the old valves staff could barely close or open them which made it hard to do maintenance. “The water is tough on the system and after a while it erodes the metal.”
The aquaplex pools are all salt water, which enables the system to create chlorine from the salt. This is done by using electrolysis with the dissolved salt to make chlorine, which when mixed with water creates a sanitizing agent. It is cheaper to maintain a pool this way as you do not have to purchase chlorine as you already make it.
The hot tub and the kids’ pool have been re-grouted, “We had a working crew going last week who helped paint, grout and spray the entire area of the aquaplex,” explained Olson.
Every part of the aquaplex has gone through a major deep clean by the staff, who had to wear HAZMAT suits for some of the clean up. “Those HAZMAT suits that we’re wearing have respirators, rubber suits, rubber gloves, goggles and hoods, because you’re working with an acidic (cleaner). All the deck surfaces around the pool, the bathrooms and the main and deep walls of the pool are cleaned with this solution.”
The chemical used is Oxiguard and it is generally used to clean metal and tile surfaces of scale and rust. Aquaplex staff wear HAZMAT suits to completely protect themselves while they work.
Rest assured the aquaplex will be running again on Sept. 19 for their wake up swim at 6 a.m.