Two public swimming pools in Laurel County did not open on Memorial Weekend as usual because of new federal regulations on drains.
The pool at Levi Jackson Wilderness Road State Park is scheduled to open today or this weekend, Manager Bill Meadors said.
“Because of the Virginia Baker Act, we had to change drains and they came in on the 19th and we got them in and it takes at least four or five days for the pool to fill and get all the chemicals right,” Meadors said. “We’re hoping to open the pool this Friday, except for the wading pool. It has to have one more piece put on it.”
The act was passed in December 2007 as the result of deaths caused by children being trapped by the suction around pool drains. Because of limited resources, some pools could not be fixed in time to open this spring.
“They had to hire pool contractors to look at all 57 pools in the state to see what all the pools had to have, the regulations changed middle ways, so it took this long to get everything together,” Meadors said. “We’re not the only pool that didn’t open. Cumberland Falls and a lot of other parks didn’t open and there were a lot of city parks that didn’t open because they were trying to get everything together. We’ve informed the health department the grill has been installed, we have the paper work to give to them, and they’ll come out and do their inspection, and we should be able to open.”
Renee Tankersley, owner of Sweet Hollow Resort, said she didn’t get a notice until December 2008. She said it is unlikely the pool would open this year because of the new regulations and other repairs that were needed.
“I think they should have given us a year,” Tankersley said. “They should have allowed us to open this year and said this is what you need to do when you close this year in order to open next year. “I don’t think the pool will be open at all this year because the state inspector will make me dig he whole bottom of the pool up, probably.”
Tankersley said her pool was a gravity pool and there was not any pump or suction that goes to the bottom.
“A lot of the pools shouldn’t be made to do this, but because they passed this act, they’re making everybody comply,” Tankersley said. “We thought we were already in compliance.”
The water park at Sweet Hollow will be open. Birthday parties will be held at one of the pavilions with a giant slide and inflatables.
“The state has come a long way with golf courses and swimming pools,” Tankersley noted. “If our tax dollars are going to these state-funded facilities, then why aren’t they letting our schools start later so, at least, we got three months of operation?”
Staff writer Carol Mills can be reached at email@example.com.