Averting A Hi Rise Pool Disaster
When an architect decides that a pool should go on the 5th floor of a high rise condo and be filtered by equipment located on the 3rd floor, there are going to be some real engineering challenges.
A clubhouse and outdoor bar surround the pool and the expected noise, vibration and space required means installing a pumphouse on the same floor was simply not an option.
(below, left) This fiberglass separation tank is a simple barrel with a square top jury-rigged into place and wasn't up to the challenge of supporting 30,000 gallons of water. Its failure threatened all the pool equipment as well as a 3 story parking garage and residents elevator system. Fortunately, the maintenance staff was on duty when the system began to rip apart.
There were several problems that needed to be addressed. New equipment would have to be transported up three floors of a low ceiling garage and through a set of 7' double doors. Two other pool companies suggested replacing the fiberglass tank with another fiberglass tank and couldn't come up with any other way to correct this situation.
But when a main component fails within 5 years of construction, why reinstall a system that has clearly demonstrated that it isn't up to the task?
We recommended a tank made of the same quality stainless steel used in pool ladders and handrails. Using 1/4" thick plate, our tank would weigh a little over 850 lbs, empty.
The engineer thought it was a great idea, but how? You'll never be able to get that heavy a tank up into the pumphouse
(right) A hand operated automotive motor puller offers double service as a mini crane providing the ideal means of moving our tank from a low slung trailer, into the parking garage and through the pool equipment room doors. We could then use the crane to swing the tank onto the 6" front pipe connection.
(below, bottom center) The 6" pipe connection is the pools main drain line and this large valve holds back 30,000 gallons of water. Any mis-step here and a quarter million pounds of pool water gushes out of this pipe and fills the pumproom.
A 10" diameter vent pipe extends up 2 stories to provide suction relief for the main recirculation pump. During the change-over, this 140 lb. pipe was cut away from the separation tank and raised out of the way using a steel chain tied to a support beam built above. When the new tank was set, this pipe was lowered back into place with a bolted and rubber gasketed pipe connection to secure pipe to tank and a fiberglass repair kit resecured top of the pipe to a fifth floor sump.
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