CALEXICO -Â The Margarita De Necochea Bulldog Aquatic Center opened in June of 2016, but the facility now faces a black algae problem in the larger competition pool, causing the facility to close down for public use and any future activity for the Calexico High physical education classes and swim team.
In an email August 16, Maria Ambriz, superintendent of the Calexico Unified School District, said the algae problem was identified several weeks ago in the eight-lane competition pool when the school districtâ€™s maintenance department observed â€œblack spots.â€ The problem apparently became more severe as the high temperatures increased throughout the summer, she said.
â€œOur district staff charged with the poolâ€™s ongoing maintenance has received proper training to maintain the pools on a daily basis,â€ said Ambriz.
According to Ambriz, a possible reason for the algae was that the full presence of water, sun and phosphates resulted in the organisms not disappearing, and in fact, spreading around the pool.
On the other hand, Ambriz also remarked that due to the excessive use of the pool from early morning to late hours in the evening, there was a possibility that pool maintenance chemicals were given a low time frame for the chemicals to properly do their job.
â€œWe have received assessments from the pool constructors, the chemical vendors, and the health department,â€ said Ambriz. â€œAlthough they have stated that at this time the pool is usable, the best course of action would be to close use access to the competition pool until the algae problem is resolved.â€
With the current pool maintenance, the school district staff has not yet decided whether an in-house team or a company who specializes in pool maintenance will perform the algae abatement and removal services. Ambriz noted that the cost for the removal for the algae assistance is estimated to be $50,000.
In the email, Ambriz stated that pool specialists recommended the competition pool be closed until the weather cools off and the removal and abatement services are executed and concluded.
â€œPart of what will need to be done in performing the abatement is to drain the pool, which could subject our pool to more hazards (such as plaster cracks), if not done appropriately,â€ said Ambriz. â€œThe warmer the weather when the pool is drained, the greater the risk of plaster cracks.â€
Ambriz stated that the competition pool is not permanently closed, but there is limited and reduced access to the aquatic center for students who are enrolled in CHS physical education classes, the swim team and the triathlon club. Nevertheless, the district will take its normal course of action so the competition pool will be available next summer to the public and Calexico High students.