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Bidhannagar Municipal Corporation pledges clean-up of both pools in Salt Lake

Both these pools have been plagued this season by water quality issues because of which they are being shut down almost every other week for several days at a stretch

Snehal Sengupta, Brinda Sarkar | Published 24.06.22, 07:10 AM
Swimmers take a dip at the pool opposite Mayukh Bhavan

Swimmers take a dip at the pool opposite Mayukh Bhavan

The bad news is that the civic body-run swimming pools will be shut yet again next week. The good news is that they authorities are promising this will be a thorough clean up drive which should prevent future problems.

Bidhannagar Municipal Corporation runs two pools in Salt Lake —an Olympic-sized one opposite Mayukh Bhavan that is part of the Bidhannagar Municipal Sports Complex and another in CJ Block. But both these pools have been plagued this season by water quality issues because of which they are being shut down almost every other week for several days at a stretch.

Swimmers are both angry and confused. Several of them said announcements about closures are seldom issued in advance due to which they often land up at the pools to learn that no swimming will be allowed on that day.

“There are no prior announcements and the authorities don’t care that they have charged us for the full season. More than that, our fitness schedule takes a hit in the weeks when the pool is shut for multiple days,” said Subhajit Sarkar, a resident of IA Block who goes to the pool opposite Mayukh Bhavan.

Another member of the same pool recalled that the facility has been shut in two weeks from Tuesday to Friday and in one week from a Tuesday to the next Tuesday. “The water is crystal clear the day after the pool reopens but one downpour and it’s back to greenish, mossy water,” said Aniket Sil, a resident of Sourav Abasan.

The CJ Block swimmers are no better off. A couple of swimmers there said that apart from the water turning green, they could see algae and moss accumulation on the tiles at the base of the pool. “The corporation needs to conduct a thorough cleanup that includes scrubbing the tiles to get rid of the algae and moss film that has formed. I have stopped going to the pool altogether as I have been getting skin rashes after swimming,” said Preeti Kanodia, a resident of DL Block.

Too many swimmers

A senior official of the civic body said they were overwhelmed by the number of swimmers enrolling. “We have more than 1,800 members that have enrolled this year in each pool and in each batch we have 40-50 swimmers and non-swimmers (learners). The sheer numbers are proving to be a challenge for us to maintain the water quality,” said the official.

But members are not bothered. They are paying Rs 2,000 for seasonal membership at both the pools that entitles them to a 45-minute time slot. The pools are scheduled for weekly maintenance on Thursdays, when they are shut for swimmers but in the last three weeks alone the pool opposite Mayukh Bhavan has been shut for at least 12 days and the one in CJ Block had been closed for more than seven days.

The official says that they have repeatedly run checks on the pool’s filtration unit but even then the water is turning green in less than three days. “We have received a few complaints yet again and will start a thorough clean-up drive at both the pools next week,” he said.

The civic body has its own personnel as well as an agency that is in charge of maintaining the water.

Maintenance standards

The Telegraph Salt Lake spoke to an agency that builds and maintains pools across the city to find out what it takes to keep the water clean.

“There are three main factors involved in the maintenance of swimming pools,” says Gaurab Ghosh, a resident of GD Block and director of Calcutta Waterworks Infrastructure. His company has built numerous pools around the country and they are at present in charge of mainta”ning those at Calcutta South Club, at DPS Barasat, the North Dum Dum Municipality pool and those in several housing complexes.

“To ensure good water quality, the filter media needs to be changed at least once a year. This is a gadget through which water passes before entering the pool and the gadget at many pools has been in dire straits since the pandemic,” says Ghosh.

“Also, the right chemicals in adequate proportion must be added to the water. This includes alum and TCCA 90, a chlorine-based pool-stabilising granule. The water needs to be filtered every morning, even on off days. Dust accumulates at the bottom of the pool and a special underwater vacuum cleaner, which is a three-foot long stainless steel suction head connected to a pump, needs to clean the water out. The process requires three to four people.”

Meanwhile, an employee of the Bidhannagar Municipal Corporation, who is posted at the Bidhannagar Sports Complex and looks after the CJ Block pool as well, says their filtration units need an overhaul.

“We have informed our senior civic officials that the filtration units in the pools need to be replaced as they have outlived their life cycles. They have assured us that they will release funds for the same but haven’t done so to date,” he said.

Share your swimming pool experience with us at saltlake@abp.in

Last updated on 24.06.22, 07:10 AM
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