City of Lincoln
2009 Media Releases
City making progress on updating pool drains
Lincoln's 10 public pools will open for the 2009 season Saturday, June 6:
The regular summer swim season will run through Sunday, August 16. City Parks and Recreation Director Lynn Johnson said all 10 public outdoor pools are fully funded for this summer. Pool information is available on the Parks Web site, parks.lincoln.ne.gov.
Johnson said the City is making progress on modifying pool drains as a result of a federal law passed last fall. The law was prompted by accidents elsewhere in the nation in which swimmers were trapped, mostly by suction-type drains. Lincoln pools use gravity-type drains, making this type of accident highly unlikely.
"Safety is our top priority, but we have never had an issue with our existing drains," Johnson said. "All drain covers are checked regularly as part of our maintenance process." Johnson said Lincoln and most other communities have been unable to complete modifications because standards were not immediately available, the pool drain manufacturer has faced increasing demands, and some pools require modifications in addition to replacing the covers.
"We began working on the project as soon as pools closed last summer, months before the law was passed," Johnson said. "Because our pools range in age from eight to 50 years, we had to gather extensive information on each pool and its drain construction."
The City contracted with Olsson Associates in December to determine the modifications necessary to bring every pool into compliance. Johnson said he hopes work at Highlands, University Place and Star City Shores can be completed this summer using SCUBA teams to install the new covers instead of draining the pools. Work at the remaining pools would begin after this season, and the project is expected to be completed by summer 2010.
The federal legislation did not provide for funding for the drain modifications. Johnson said the cost will range from about $1,500 for new drain covers themselves up to $10,000 for pools that may require more significant retrofitting. Johnson said the money would come from the City's Capital Improvement Program, and that might delay other Parks and Recreation construction projects.