Purple pain

Just a day after opening, the Tracy Aquatic Center was closed Sunay because of an iron issue. The water hsa turned multiple colors over the last few days. Photo / Per Peterson

Pool problems persist; aquatic center shut down indefinitely

By Per Peterson

Nothing says summer like a dip in a pool. But this hasn’t been a normal start to the summer at the Tracy Aquatic Center.

Since opening Saturday, the water in the pool has changed color four times, and is currently now a deep purplish hue because of abnormal levels of iron and manganese.

“We drained the splash pool Sunday; it’s got iron in it now,” Tracy Public Works Director Shane Daniels said Tuesday. “We don’t know where the purple water is coming from. It’s been brown, black, purple, gray.”

This actually isn’t the first time the pool’s water has turned purple. It happened five or six years ago before the pool opened that summer, due to high iron and manganese levels, but Daniels said that time, it filtered out and went away.

“It’s not going away right now,” he said with an air of frustration. “Iron and manganese is natural in our system, but I don’t know why it’s not going away. It’s not filtering out. I just don’t know why it’s not clearing itself out. We’ve done everything the textbook has told us to do and it’s not working.”

Daniels, who is a certified pool operator, said Monday that he’s put out calls to pool professionals. The last resort, he said, would be to have to drain, refill and balance the levels in pool, a process that takes between four to five days. Anywhere between $4,000-$5,000 of chemical goes into balancing the pool because of its high alkaline content.

“If there’s a chemical that would take this out, that would be our best bet,” he said. “Right now, it’s more of a chemistry thing. We’re all scratching our heads.”

Daniels said the frustrating part of the ordeal is how perfect the water in the main pool area had been leading up to the opening of the pool this past Saturday. The water in the baby pool, he said, did turn a light pink on Saturday.

“What made it change?” he said.

See this week’s Headlight Herald for more on this article.