Park Board meeting minutes for January 30, 2001

Board wrestles with Splash Landing filter problems

JANUARY 30, 2001

The Bettendorf Park Board held a special meeting on January 30, 2001 at 4:00 pm in the Administration Office at the HDG Community Center.

Present: Hutter, Adamson, Glenn, Kamp, and Makoaben
Absent: None

Steve Grimes informed the Board that Dave Burbach would be available by phone to inform the Board of additional issues and costs their firm has discovered.

Greg Jager was present and informed the Board that Steve forwarded a copy of the letter from Burbach Aquatics dated January 26, 2001 to him. After reviewing the letter, he had some concerns and wanted some feedback from Water Technology, the original consultant for the Splash Landing Project. Greg reviewed the letter that he sent to Water Technology with the Park Board. He asked Water Technology for a response, as soon as possible, to his concerns. Both letters are annex #1 to these minutes.

Greg further stated that the reason for sending this letter to Water Technology is two fold: (1) The Board needs to know right away if there is just the dirty water and the back washing process and that is the viable option rather than spend $300,000; and (2) With the new proposal submitted by Burbach and the increased cost and scope of work, we may not be able to open the pool as scheduled. Once we replace the filter, we may not be able to hold Water Technology to the fire.

Chairman Hutter asked Greg if we have one expert against the other expert.

Greg stated that he does not know and that is one of the questions he will ask Burbach.

Rita VanWetzinga stated that the State approved all the plans.

Greg stated that is an issue he wants to know. We still have to rely on the people that do the work.

Commissioner Makoben asked if there was a City Engineer that can look at the pool.

Greg stated that there are City Engineer's, but does not know if we have someone in water.

Commissioner Glenn asked if we should have jumped on this sooner. There was a letter dated January 11, 2001 from Burbach indicating there would be an additional $50,000 cost to the project. That is a lot of money to let go this long. Now what are they saying?

Steve stated that we had a public hearing scheduled for February 1, 2001. The original estimate was approximately $180,000 with a contingency and the design fees. The last estimate totals $315,000 with the additional surge tanks and work Burbach is recommending. That is where you will be getting some debate between the two consultants as to what is really necessary.

Rita stated that Water Technology wrote a letter acknowledging that we did not have enough surge capacity for a sand filter system. He agreed that we could use the existing DE filter pit along with the things we already have in place and that would be enough surge capacity to add the sand filter system.

Steve stated that Dave Burbach says they feel it is not adequate, even though it may meet the minimum requirements. Burbach's design shows two tanks and he has said that you could get by with one of the tanks. That is a savings of between $30,000-$40,000 and does not drop the cost down that much.

Chairman Hutter asked if Burbach has a solution to the problem, and do we have anything to come back on Water Technology?

Greg Jager stated that he wants the opportunity to see Water Technology's response to the letter he sent to them. As he read the letter from Burbach dated on the 26th, he was pointing a finger pretty hard.

Chairman Hutter stated basically, what we will get into is a strong potential of some legal ramification over this thing. The other problem we have is that we need a swimming pool that will be operating this summer. Is that the two major issues here?

Commissioner Glenn stated another issue and one of our main goals is not to make our staff work any harder. Now we are talking about operating the pool like we did last year.

Commissioner Adamson stated he talked with Decker and Greg Jager about one of the main concerns if we go another summer with the DE filter system that we don't have the staff to take care of the maintenance and record keeping. According to Decker, that was not going to be a problem.

Rita explained that we had one applicant last year to maintain the system and paid approximately $9.00 per hour. This person worked seven days a week and came in at midnight to check the system. He is not returning.

Rita also stated that Water Technology recommended keeping the DE system and they should be accountable for that. We would of never added another slide and the other amenities if we would of known we needed a new system.

Steve stated that Water Technology had to get approval from the state to keep the existing system. We did not change the existing pool, and that is how they justified not making a change.

Chairman Hutter stated whatever the factors that contributed to this, the person should have had the expertise to know if we should have replaced the system or not, that is why we hired them to make sure the pool operated efficiently and effectively, and it is not.

The conference call was made to Dave Burbach.

Mr. Burbach explained his letter dated January 26, 2001 and why the sand filter system and surge tanks are needed. He also reviewed the recommendation that new 10" pipe be installed from the main pool gutter outlet to the aluminum tank in the pit and installation of a backwash tank.

Mr. Burbach also stated that the cloudy water could be caused in part by failing pool paint, improper circulation inside the main pool, or other sources. They have not had the opportunity to see first hand the problems with the main pool when in operation.

Greg Jager asked Mr. Burbach if the Board did not have $315,000 and had $250,000, what would be the first cut?

Mr. Burbach stated one of the surge tanks and using the old DE tank, and we could check to see if we can operate with two eight inch lines.

Greg asked Mr. Burbach if he had concerns about getting the work completed in time for the swim season.

Mr. Burbach stated that he did. It is a small project, but they will have to move slowly. Once excavating begins, it disturbs a lot of turf areas, decks, and fencing. You have the risk of inclement weather. Also, the filter needs to be ordered and needs to be tested to see if it works properly. If it does not work properly, it will have to be sent back, one in ten fail.

Rita asked Mr. Burbach if the project is pushed off to the fall, what are the chances, with the current system, of starting up with fairly minimal problems.

Mr. Burbach stated that the problems from last summer would not go away. You have the problems with the capacity of the filters. There are broken pipes and if repaired properly, will help. He suggested getting a variance to reduce the re-circulation rate to the rate the DE system worked properly before. Install a valve on the system to partially close to create an artificial resistance so the amount of water pulled through is reduced. Doing this may cause water clarity risks. This would need to be approved by the Iowa Department of Public Health.

Greg Jager asked how to go about getting this variance.

Mr. Burbach stated that he would approach it to reduce the turnover rate at the pool, which may cause water quality issues. The City would have to agree to close the pool to return the water to an acceptable level. We would have to define what the flow rate would be. We should shoot for what the 1998 re-circulation rate was. If the number is not available, use the turnover rate of once every nine hours and if you have to, go to once every eight hours. The rate for the main pool is suppose to be once every six hours and the slides once every two hours.

Rita stated that the pool never experienced water quality issues last year. The issues were water clarity. That is a different concern when you are talking about water chemistry.

Greg Jager stated since there was no problem in water quality, there is no reason to expect that it would be a problem, if we would reduce re-circulation temporarily.

Mr. Burbach stated that he does not think there will be a water chemistry problem, unless the number of users increases significantly.

Greg Jager asked what percentage are you certain we could open on Memorial Day if we proceeded with the work. Mr. Burbach stated 50%. Greg asked what percentage by June 10. Mr. Burbach stated 80%. Greg asked by June 25. Mr. Burbach stated 100%.

Commissioner Makoben asked what could be done to open in June.

Mr. Burbach stated try for the variance, study the downstream system to see if we can reduce the flow to see if the valve will help. He has tried not to recommend one way or the other as to whether or not to do the work this spring or hold the project off until fall. If we rush the project through, it will be more expensive and the pool will open late. All the warranty will be gone, if the project is done now.

Greg Jager explained that as the contractor is digging ground to put in the tanks, they can disturb the ground and crack pipes. The existing contractor would say it is the result of the new construction. We won't be in a position to argue with him because we simply will not know. If we discover something is cracked or whatever as we start up this spring and leave it alone, we can pretty easily point a finger and say this is still under warranty and needs to be replaced.

Rita asked if the valve is added to the system, how would that effect the warranty?

Mr. Burbach stated that he felt the City could get Water Technology to agree with the change. If the valve is needed and is placed shortly after the pump, you will not put any additional pressure on the system. Water Technology should be agreeable with that.

Greg Jager asked if the paint is an issue, how long will it take to balance out?

Mr. Burbach stated the paint would balance itself out when it is gone.

Mr. Burbach also stated that in talking to Rita, she expressed concerns regarding the operational issues with finishing the other contract up a little negatively.

Rita said she had concerns about how responsive will anyone be in training and problems that will occur with the system.

Mr. Burback stated he personally feels we will have problems. What has changed?

Greg Jager asked if there is cloudy water and we take it somewhere to be analyzed, can they determine if it is DE and/or paint?

Mr. Burbach stated that they should be able to.

Rita stated we will be open 14 hours per week more than last summer and will be running more people through.

Steve asked is it the number of people or the length of operation that will effect the system?

Mr. Burbach stated it is the number of people at one time in the pool. They bring in debris that effects the chlorine level. When you slow down the circulation rate, there should be less back washing. The filters will accommodate more debris. The potential downside will be the clarity and quality of water problems.

Greg Jager stated if we would delay putting in a valve, as I understand, the filters get dirtier when there are people in the pool and less dirty when there are less people in the pool. We currently, because of the existing problems, are back washing on a daily basis. Is it possible to adjust the filtration rates for different times? In other words, the pool is open ten hours a day, but there are 24 hours a day. When the pool is closed, could you bump up the rate of filtration and then try and accommodate some of the clarity problems by catching them by the close of the business day.

Mr. Burbach stated that you could do something like that. An easy system should be developed and the valve marked.

Commissioner Adamson asked if it is going to be possible for the current DE system to work properly or are we just stalling until we can get it replaced?

Mr. Burbach stated that he doesn't see this DE system as ever working properly. You will continue to have problems. You are running an awful lot of water through a small area. The only reason why I raised the issue of waiting until fall was (1) cost, (2) getting a handle of all the problems in the pool before spending a lot of money, and (3) warranty.

Mr. Burbach stated that their firm is committed to have a quality project and when they are done, they want to have the staff happy with them. He thanked the Board for consideration of their contract and putting trust in their firm.

The conference call ended.

Greg stated that the issue is, did Water Technology provide us a service that was outside the range that competent professionals in the area provide. If you are going to look to them for some sort of damage that you are suffering, you have to show that they are outside that range. There is a problem with the pool that we didn't have before. I have always said what we need to do is identify what is causing the problem. What we have heard today is 4-5 different things, and I don't know yet which of those things to target. One of the problems we can probably discount is the paint since you haven't had any paint rubbing on your skin as you use the pool. Another factor is the vacuum itself. As a result of this system, the vacuum may have been set to its maximum pressure, and it wasn't at the maximum pressure before and that may be causing a problem. Another issue is insufficient water getting into the start of the filter system. The volume may be causing an issue as well. Anything we can do to isolate those factors, I think Water Technology would probably be supportive. What it does is identifies what the issue is and whether they should be held responsible. Along those lines is the valve issue. Is the pump set too high for what we are trying to get done?

Rita stated that the pump is not set high. The pump is set to try and reach code. What Burbach is suggesting is that we back down the pressure more so we can adjust to what we did before we added the slides, our turnover rate prior to when this construction started. I think it is set right. It is having difficulty with the people and debris in keeping up.

Commissioner Adamson stated, if one of the problems is the slides, can we shut down one or both of the slides to get by this year. It would be better than shutting the whole pool down.

Rita stated the Board just increased fees. The slides cannot be shut down. There would be problems from the community.

Greg stated that we have the same amount of water coming in and through the system, the only question is the flow rate. That is something Water Technology should have. They should have attempted to match it to the code. Speeding everything up may have caused the problem.

Rita stated we have not accommodated the two-hour turnover rate the slides require.

Steve stated that is where Water Technology's responsibility was to run the calculations to verify the flow rates to accommodate the addition of the slides.

Greg stated that is where some experience is going to be helpful in determining whether or not they are correct. If the water flow is reduced and the problems disappear, then what we can say is your solution for what to do about the issue of maintaining the code appears to be wrong. That's only part of the issue. Did the professional judgement exceed or go outside of the range in what you would of expected professionals to have given advise when it was designed.

Greg stated that if we can get a variance, we could have a chance to field test some of these different hypothesis. One of these being over capacity of the filter system, is it dirt or not the dirt, or too many slides. You can shut down the slides for three to four days to monitor the system. Start building a database on what happens to the system when you make these adjustments. That will be helpful to determine what the problem is.

Chairman Hutter recommended hiring an expert to come in to monitor the system.

Greg stated the Board has two choices on what they can do. (1) Proceed with the project and add incentives to the contract to get the job done. In doing that, it will increase the cost above the projected $315,000. The Board will need to find the funding. (2) Defer the project until fall and talk about how to monitor the system and provide the staff with relief with back washing and creating a database.

On motion by Adamson, seconded by Kamp, to forgo replacement of the filter system this season and hire an outside expert to monitor the pool and prepare the reports necessary for Greg Jager.

Roll call on motion: Ayes: Hutter, Adamson, Kamp, and Makoben
Nays: Glenn

Rita stated a person will be needed to backwash and another person will be needed to monitor and complete the reports. We will need to have the project ready to go in September. Also, we need clarification on the valve. Greg needs to have the opportunity to see how Water Technology responds.

Greg stated that it would be interesting to see what will happen. If Burbach and Water Technology say shutting the water volume down some is a good idea and if the state will agree with that as a solution and if it will clear up the problem, it may save $300,000.

The newspapers will be notified that the Public Hearing on the pool filter issue is cancelled.

On motion by Makoben, seconded by Adamson to adjourn at 6:05 pm.

Hutter (Chairman)

Adamson (Vice Chairman)

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