What to do when your pool is storm damaged
Septic water, shattered coping, damaged vinyl liners and cracked concrete shells caused by ground movement – this is some of the damage Arcbuild Insurance sees during its post-storm restoration work.
“When catastrophe strikes as a force of nature, like it did in the recent east coast storms, we immediately deploy a team of skilled professionals best suited to assess the damage and get the remediation work underway,” explains managing director Darren Paxton. “Right now we’re appraising properties between Tweed Heads and Nowra and will no doubt see flood-affected pools and fencing.”
With some of us getting off lightly with excessive leaf litter and easily removed floating debris, other pool owners are now faced with a toxic water feature. Emptying the pool might be the first thing that comes to mind but for pool and spa specialist Swimart, this could cause irreparable damage.
“It’s certainly not essential that a pool must be restored to use immediately, but it is vital to assess the condition of the pool and make it safe before starting any works,” says Chris Fitzmaurice, Swimart’s national manager.
Calling in an expert to assess the condition of the pool and make it safe before starting any work was essential, he explains.
“The pool shell acts as a kind of ‘boat’ when empty of water. If the surrounding soil is saturated, the pool will have a tendency to float, which can cause it to shift or crack.
“The fact is that all swimming pools – whether they’re vinyl-lined, fibreglass or even concrete ones weighing over 50 tonnes – can float when empty. The upward pressure of the water under the floor can actually cause it to lift.”
With recovery efforts now underway, Swimart advises that there are a number of key steps to restore flood-affected swimming pools.
“An unused, flood-affected swimming pool is not likely to transmit or become a source of diseases in the short term unless sewage has contaminated the pool. However, as it generally won’t be filtered or sanitised, it is important to check for evidence of mosquitoes on a daily basis,” Fitzmaurice adds.
Swimart Tips for Owners of Pools Affected by Floods and Heavy Rain
- Determine whether fencing is intact to prevent children from accessing the pool. If in doubt, refer to the Pool Safety Council for guidelines on pool fencing requirements
- Secure or restrict access to the area if possible, particularly if fences have been damaged or debris has made the area dangerous
- Do not empty your pool, as the ground water may have become saturated and the pool could pop or crack. Experienced pool technicians should only empty pool water when it’s deemed safe
- Check the pump house and other structures in case snakes, spiders and other pests have harboured there
- Have a licenced electrician check the circuits and electrical fittings of your pump, timer and any electrical equipment. This may need to be done in consultation with a pool technician in case electrical components need to be replaced
- Consult with a pool technician on how to ‘flocculate’ the pool water. Aluminium sulphate, a flocculant, will cause suspended solids in the water to congeal into a filterable mass and settle to the bottom. The flocculated material should be vacuumed to waste and not filtered, as it will rapidly clog the filter
- If your pool is full of water but isn’t able to be restored, check it daily for evidence of mosquitoes. If mosquitoes and/or lava is detected, speak to a pool technician about how to remove them
- If the pool water starts to turn green, an algal bloom is developing and you should consult with a pool technician about how to address this
- Only turn your filter back on once water quality has been restored and an electrician has checked your equipment
Images courtesy of Arcbuild Insurance