Monday, March 25, 2013

Hurricane Sandy - Swimming Pool Aftermath

(Photos courtesy of Millennium Pools and Spas, Pt. Pleasant, NJ)

Hurricane Sandy, Super-storm Sandy, Post-Tropical Depression Sandy, no matter what you call it, the aftermath of the October 28th and 29th storm was nothing like I ever could have imagined it would be.  Living on the Jersey Coast, I was lucky and saw very little damage to my house or pool.  I have however witnessed first hand the semi and total destruction of homes, hotels, boats, cars and the subject of this blog post - Swimming Pools.

We have received a good number of emails and phone calls from both pool owners and pool dealers looking for advice on what to do about vinyl lined swimming pools which were under water during the storm.   Many pool owners have not even begun to evaluate the damage to their swimming pools and the timing of this post is relevant as we approach swimming pool opening season.

When it comes to Sandy flooded vinyl lined pools, removing the "contaminated" water is a good idea.

Pools flooded with ocean water look and smell a lot different than pools flooded with back bay, lagoon or river water but they both have reasons for a water change. 

The photos shown here are of a pool on a river which connects to the Barnegat Bay in New Jersey.  The water color itself tells you it needs to be removed from the pool.  This was a definite drain, clean and refill situation.  Contaminants in the back bays such as marine fuel, engine oil and such are  a reason why many pools will need to be cleaned and re-filled or have their liners replaced.  We have also seen pictures of some really strange staining issues related to the storm.

Draining a vinyl lined pool in order to perform this clean-out may not be an option depending on how old the liner is.  As a liner ages it will loose some pliability.  This is normally not an issue for normal operation of the pool, but when the water is removed and then refilled, the liner may not have the ability to stretch like when it was first installed.  The liner pictured here was less than 5 years old and had plenty of life left in it.  If you are thinking of draining your vinyl lined pool, you should consult with your pool company to determine if your liner will be ok after it is drained and re-filled.  Depending on the age of the liner, the amount of U.V. (Sun) exposure, and your chemical habits, your liner may not survive this type of clean-up and you may need a new liner in order to clean up your pool.

Pools flooded by ocean water present different reasons for draining and refilling.  Although not riddled with contaminants like the back bays post storm, ocean water presents a problem because its salinity level is around 35,000 parts per million.  This is very corrosive and if left in a swimming pool can cause a number of problems with equipment and the swimming pool itself.  Pools using salt chlorine generators operate at a salinity level of 2800 to 4500, far less than ocean water levels.  Ocean water also carries lots of micro-organisms which can lead to all types of fun algae blooms which is why it is good to shower off and rinse toys used at the beach before they or you enter a swimming pool.

If this storm affected you or someone you know, we wish you our best and hope that you are on the road to recovery.  Visit our website to see what we are doing along with our vendor, distributor and dealer partners to help the cause.
Merlin Industries, Inc. Hurricane Sandy Relief Program