At the December and January meetings of the Sunset Empire Park and Recreation District, patrons complained about unsanitary conditions at the Sunset Pool men’s and women’s locker rooms and unsafe flooring, particularly in the men’s locker room. Charges of “turbid conditions” in the warm water pool and the use of a space heaters in the locker room were also reported. Floors in the ladies’ locker room were slippery and not cleaned often enough, pool patrons said.
The district and Clatsop County Department of Public Health say the pools are safe, and problems in the men’s locker room are being addressed. “Throughout my tenure we haven’t had one reported issue of bacteria or illness being present or transmitted in any of our facilities,” Archibald said. “We have regular inspections, both internally and externally. We had the Clatsop County Health Department in both locker rooms this month and we passed that inspection.”
After a closure from Oct. 19 to Dec. 11, swimmers returned to the Sunset Empire Park and Recreation District pool to resume classes, meets and swims.
Among a long list of renovations, the Sunset Pool was replastered and LED lighting repaired. A filter system was installed in the main pool, building leaks repaired and a new boiler added.
In the men’s locker room, new showers were installed, floors redone and walls repainted. Flooring was incorrectly sloped, forming “constant puddles.”
Because of deficiencies in the forced-air heating system, a stand-alone heater unit “like you use in your garage” stood in standing water, also creating a hazardous situation, pool patron Dallas Cook said at the district’s January meeting.
County officials have not seen any health incidents at the Sunset Pool, Registered Environmental Health Specialist Meredith Reiley said.
Reiley investigated reports of turbidity in the warm water pool, a complaint at the December meeting.
Cloudiness comes from chlorine pumped in automatically trying to “eat up all the gunk” going into the pool, she said. “That’s why we’re supposed to shower before going into the pool.”
Archibald said the district recently updated small signs with a larger infographic advising patrons of the importance of showering first.
County inspections take place twice a year or as complaints are delivered.
“I did go in there and talk about the electric heaters,” Reiley said. “That was one of the concerns that I got. By the time I got in there, they had the parts for the heating system in-house and they were waiting to install them.”
Archibald said the heating system is now fixed.
Staff say the pool is safe and they are addressing concerns about the locker areas.
“The men’s locker room was one of the many projects undertaken during an extended shutdown,” Board Chairman Alan Evans said. “Unfortunately, some of the projects associated with that space did not go as planned. The district apologizes for the inconvenience that patrons may experience as a result of the projects.”