Evaporation turns into pipe leak

Leaky pipes are the culprit at the therapy pool in the Carson Aquatic Facility, not evaporation.

The pool's original contractor, American General Development, claimed the therapy pool lost up to 450 gallons of water a day because of evaporation. However, contractors repairing the therapy pool found a pipe fitting under the pool deck with no glue.

It's the only leak contractors found, but Parks and Recreation Director Steve Kastens said its repair appears to have fixed the problem.

As for the evaporation explanation, Kastens said city officials never believed that much water could be lost without a leak somewhere.

"I'm sure there's some evaporation, but not to the degree we were experiencing," he said.

American General Development was removed from the project in September 2000, after negotiations to fix several problems failed. The city then contracted with Metcalf Builders to finish the project, using $373,000 withheld from AGD. Both sides are embroiled in a lawsuit, the city contending AGD failed to build the pool to specifications, and AGD claiming breech of contract.

The city filed a complaint with the state contractors board, which is still under review. Deputy District Attorney Neil Rombardo said an attorney for the contractors board filed an independent complaint against AGD and sent the city a document stating at least 14 of the city's claims are valid.

The state contractors board could make a decision on the city's complaint in September. A trial between AGD and the city is set to begin in April, Rombardo said.

Repairs to the water slide were completed and the slide opened in June. Work on the therapy pool continues, including reshaping the tank and replacing stones around its edge.

"At least we're putting things back together, not tearing it apart," Kastens said.

The aquatic facility, the first large Quality-of-Life Initiative project, was supposed to be finished in September 1999.

Delays, mostly due to bad weather, pushed the completion of the indoor pool and other improvements into November 1999 and sent the $3.6 million price tag up by $160,000.

The therapy pool, slide and other work in a second phase of the project were then expected to be finished by Jan. 31, 2000, but remained unfinished for the past two summers. City supervisors recently approved an extra $211,000 for the project. The price of the pool is now just shy of $4 million.


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