The Kate Kuhns Aquatic Center in Homer has been re-opened after a week-long closure. The pool’s manager says the lengthy closure was preventable and with a little help from pool users, should be avoided in the future.
The pool at Homer High School is normally a bustling place on a Monday afternoon, with several different user groups – from seniors to parents with children to lap swimmers out for some exercise – vying for pool time. But this Monday afternoon, the pool was empty.
Long-time Pool Manager Bridget Kuhns says that when the pool closed last week, many users assumed it was because of regular maintenance, which does happen from time to time. But this time, Kuhns says the pool was forced to close because of an incident involving illness among users.
""(We) had to close for what we call a 'fecal incident'", she said. "We don't want ... attention brought to it but we have to make sure ... that this water is always pristine and clean."
The pool is very popular and has a reputation for being a very clean environment. That, of course, is a reputation that Kuhns would like to keep.
Kuhns advises that pool users wait at least a week after suffering from an illness before returning to the aquatic center. And she says it’s always important to follow the pool rules, including putting your hair up, wearing clean garments and showering in the locker room before using the pool.
Kuhns calls last week’s incident the worst she’s ever seen. She says the aquatic center staff has worked hard to return the water to its normally clean condition. They’re aided by the pool’s sand-filtration cleaning system, which turns over 250,000 gallons about every six hours.
"We've circulated it more than necessary, just to be on the safe side," said Kuhns.
In addition to its regular daily user groups, the pool closure has affected trainings for Special Olympics athletes and the Kachemak Swim Club.
Kuhns said the pool was scheduled to be reopened Tuesday.