Pool has to close to clean up

PORTISHEAD'S open air pool has to close each day for an hour to allow the ancient filtration system to clean the water. Staff at the centre have to close down

PORTISHEAD'S open air pool has to close each day for an hour to allow the ancient filtration system to clean the water.Staff at the centre have to close down the pool area for 60 minutes EVERY day because the current filtration system, which was installed when the centre opened in the late 1960s, only keeps the water clean enough to reach health and safety criteria for three hours at a time.The pool, which opens from the end of May to the end of September, opens at 10am but has to close again at 1.30pm to allow the water to clear before re-opening for business again at 2.30pm.Initially, swimmers at the pool thought the closure was down to staff taking lunch breaks.Now ways of keeping the pool open throughout the day - the same as other council run pools across the district - are being considered by council officers.Suggestions including filling the pool with saltwater in a bid to eradicate the problem with the filtration system have been put forward.Portishead councillor David Pasley said: "It is madness to have a pool that closes during a peak time of day."The filtration equipment needs to be upgraded or replaced so this problem can be resolved, the pool can open fully and more revenue can be generated."I have put forward suggestions including making it a saltwater pool and have asked officers to investigate." The pool is run by contractors DC Leisure but costs North Somerset Council a total of £316,370 to run each year, with the authority receiving just £3,900 in revenue from the seafront attraction.The true running costs of the pool - the equivalent of £19,773 for every week it is open - were revealed following investigations by the authority's community services policy and scrutiny panel earlier this year.North Somerset Council spokesman Richard Turner confirmed the pool's filtration had not been changed over the last 40 years but did undergo regular maintenance.He said: "Because it is an open air pool a lot of people use sun cream when they use it and this gets into the water."Because the filtration system is old, the pool closes for an hour to give the water clarity time to recover."It can turn cloudy and there are very strict health and safety guidelines which have to be adhered to. We also operate two sessions to ensure as many people can use the pool as possible.

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