CONCERNS for Moree Artesian Aquatic Centre swimmers’ health has been raised after an inspection of Moree’s 50-metre pool earlier in 2015.
Allan Cockerell’s firm (J.H Cockerell Pty Ltd) has been involved in the design of council pools for more than 30 years and said ‘wetdeck’ pools were growing increasingly popular.
“Moree’s 50 metre pool has been designed as a wetdeck pool where the pool’s surface water flows into wetdeck channels located on both sides of the pool.
“Pools with wetdeck channels are now widely chosen by Councils in Australia in an effort to ensure pool surface water, where bathers spend most of their time and where there is a high concentration of water contaminants including saliva, skin particles, hair and sunscreens, is regularly and efficiently removed from the pool for treatment,” Mr Cockerell explained.
Although, after inspecting the pool in May 2015, Mr Cockerell claims measurements of the pools wetdeck channels were out.
“Vertical movement of the pool’s wetdeck channel walls must be restricted to less than two millimetres (mm) for the life of the pool. When I inspected Moree’s 50-metre pool, the maximum vertical movement on one side of the pool was approximately 70mm and the other side 10mms. It therefore appears that there has been further pool movement since April 2014 when the movement was reported to be 40 to 50mm,” he said.
Mr Cockerell said there was no surface water flowing into the wetdeck channels due to the movement.
“Due to pool wall vertical movement, there was no surface water flowing into the wetdeck channels for approximately 35 metres on one side of the pool and 10 metres on the other side.
“Under these circumstances, in areas of the pool where there was no flow of water into the wetdeck channels, pool users will be exposed to potential health risks,” he said.
He also noted there was no cost effective way of re-levelling the pool, and recommended demolition and reconstruction as the cheapest way of restoring the pool water quality to “an acceptable standard”.
“In my experience, when designing pools with wetdeck channels particular attention must be paid to providing the pool’s shell with suitable support. This is most important when the pool is to be constructed in expansive clays for which Moree is well known.”
The Moree Champion contacted Moree Plains Shire Council on Wednesday but said they were unable to comment due to legal reasons.
On Thursday, after this story was published in the print edition of the Champion, the council made the following statement:
"Today, some statements have been included in local media implying a concern about the level of public health maintained at the Moree Artesian Aquatic Centre (MAAC).
"As a public swimming pool, the 50m pool at the MAAC must be operated in accordance with certain public health standards specified by NSW State Government regulations.
"Council wishes to confirm that the 50m pool at the MAAC is compliant with those standards."