By STEVE SCHULWITZ
News Staff Writer
ALPENA - The Alpena County Maintenance Department is taking steps to better monitor utility use at Plaza Pool, as well as make devising measures to have the utilities used more efficiently.
For the last year the pool has shared electrical use with the Alpena High School, and then the school system would charge the county an amount estimated on use. The Alpena County Board of Commissioners recently approved the spending of $10,500 to have the facility powered and billed by Alpena Power as a stand-alone entity. Maintenance Superintendent Wes Wilder said the money will be used for the equipment and transfer of the utility.
"Last year the school gave up on all of the utility costs for the pool, but the power was still run though it," Wilder said. "There will be a new feed, transformer and meter for the pool. Now it will be billed for its actual use and not on an estimate."
Wilder said the water runs through the school also, but is metered on its own. He said gas runs directly into the facility and also has a separate meter. Currently Wilder and Plaza Pool Director Brandy Norton are exploring way to keep the cost of power and water in check at the pool. Wilder said the county commissioners have a plan to help make the pool more green and economically feasible.
"We have already done lighting upgrades at the county's other facilities and the rebate money is being set aside to do the same at the pool," Wilder said. "We have also been working with Timm Construction into possibly putting a new heating unit in."
As the electricity issues get ironed out there is now an issue with a undetected water leak somewhere within the building. Wilder said he suspects the leaking water has been taking place for some time, but he hasn't been able to tell where it was occurring. The pool has two separate water meters that track the water in the pool, and another to other areas in the building where water is used. He said that should help determine which is using more water and indicate a leak.
"We always had only one meter at the facility, so we couldn't monitor the restrooms or showers separate from the pool," Wilder said. "Now we can see exactly what the pool is using an what the showers, lockerooms and bathrooms are using. We already used a camera in the pit the drain and in the pool, but we still haven't been able to find it. By looking at the meters we should find out about where the leak is and then move ahead and fix it."
Steve Schulwitz can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 358-5689.