That Pool is a Dump

Posted: October 4, 2009 in General, House

As a pool owner, probably the biggest fear you have is that one day, a catastrophic failure will dump the contents of your pool in a matter of minutes. Today that fear was realized for Cara and I.

The story starts months ago when I got home from work and the pool pump wasn’t running. For over a week the pool pump was off (and the pool turned a nice shade of green), then I was able to get it limping along which helped it from turning into a complete cesspool, however it wasn’t really up and running until a few weeks ago. By then it was time to close the pool, but before I could do that, I had to return it to a somewhat clean status.

Of course with a baby, scheduling the time to commit to serious pool cleaning seemed to be difficult. I would do what I could, when I could, and this weekend things were getting close. Algae had been ambitiously growing for weeks now, so I was left to scrub the pool surfaces with the pool brush to clean it as well as possible.

This afternoon I was scrubbing around the pool and I heard the sound of trickling water. I walked over to the source of the sound to see dark muddy water gushing from under the pool. The thought process when you see something like that is “What the hell is that?” and you try to think of some other explanation of what is happening beside what you know the truth is (that the water in your pool is quickly exiting).

Of course at this point it probably wasn’t too much larger than a garden hose (with 10,000 gallons of water pressure behind it). I did all I could think of… I ran into the house and stripped down to my underwear while explaining the dire situation to my wife. I grabbed (what wasn’t the smartest thing), Saran wrap thinking that I could at least temporarily seal the leak until a more permanent solution was found.

I ran back out to the pool and jumped in the frigid water. I began searching for the leak with my foot (thinking that it should be pretty easy to find). I was right, it was very easy to feel the pull of the water exiting the pool.

Now here I have to make a few notes. First, the pool certainly was leaking quickly, and I was pretty freaked out at the thought of dumping the entire contents of our pool (10,000 gallons, remember?). That said, it would have taken an hour or two for the pool to empty, assuming that the pressure didn’t make the hole bigger. Secondly, and more importantly, the fact is that, as evidenced by the brown water, the leak had quickly cut away at the ground underneath it as the pressure of the water forced its way out of the pool. This means that there probably wasn’t a lot of dirt and sand in the corner of the pool where the hole was…

So after finding the hole with my foot in the chilly water, I must have put some pressure in the area near the hole. This of course made the hole that was slightly larger than a garden hose into a hole about the size of… well something big because in a whoosh water started pouring out from under the pool. This happened as soon as Cara exited the house to follow me. By the time I turned to look at her the level had already dropped six inches, and had dropped two feet by the time I got out of the pool.

I had literally dumped the contents of our 10,000 gallon pool in seconds. Since we live on a hill, the pool water rushed across our driveway and across the neighbors lawn quickly trying to find the lowest point.

In those moments there is this feeling that you don’t get very often in your lifetime. That feeling of amazement as you’re experiencing what might be one of the worst moments of your life. The potential unthinkable repercussions hitting you at once as you realize the gravity of what is happening.

So now I sit here many hours later, after Cara and I have visited our neighbors and surveyed the potential damage as well as we can. It appears as though we may have lucked out, as the water seems to have dodged the houses in our neighborhood and quietly been absorbed by the ground as it traveled down the hill. Of course our pool is a mess, and it will take significant effort to return our backyard to normal, but this may not be the worst thing in the world… but time will tell on that.


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