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South Summit pools finally see the light

In May, the South Summit Aquatic and Fitness Center (SSAFC) celebrated after getting approval from the school board to install a brand new ultraviolet (UV) filtration system in their pools. This weekend, after a weeklong closure, it was cause for more celebration as the pool reopened with the new system fully functioning.

The SSAFC administration made the decision to install the system after the record outbreak of Cryptosporidium (a.k.a. Crypto) in Salt Lake and Utah Counties last summer. Cryptosporidium can cause severe abdominal discomfort and watery diarrhea. Although the number of Crypto cases in Summit County was negligible in comparison, both SSAFC director Steve Sutherland and Aquatic Director Kelly Jacobsen decided a change was necessary.

According to Jacobsen, because of the center’s three pools a lap pool/diving well, leisure pool and Jacuzzi spa– they compete directly with Salt Lake facilities, often welcoming residents from the Wasatch Front. She wanted those patrons as well as locals to feel safe swimming in the Kamas pool.

Child safety was the other major concern. The pool is home to the high school swimming and diving teams and welcomes hundreds of kids to its leisure pool which offers numerous water features.

"Not allowing kids to come to our pool is not an option," Jacobsen said. "We want make sure it is as safe as possible."

The State Department of Health has instituted a number of guidelines that all community pools and their patrons must follow to curb the number of Crypto cases, but that doesn’t ensure the eradication of the disease. Jacobsen notes that carriers of Crypto may show few symptoms and can continue to contaminate area pools.

UV filtration systems, which were already installed in all Salt Lake County pools earlier in the year, are widely thought to be the best defense against water-bourne contamination in community pools because it treats all of the water and eliminates 99.9 percent of all bacteria. Other forms of filtration, like ozone and chlorine also fight bacteria, but not nearly as effectively. In a chlorinated pool, Crypto can hang around for up to 10 days. In comparison, the UV system kills the bacteria on contact.

In a UV system, the water is to UV light at a range that kills both organic and inorganic bacteria. The SSAFC will also continue to use their ozone and chlorine systems as backups. Another benefit is that with the addition of the UV system, it allows the center to lower the amount of chlorine they’ve been using, so patrons skin and eyes will be less irritated.

UV systems seem like an obvious choice for pool filtration, but come with a hefty price tag between $40,000-$50,000 for an installation. CEM Aquatics, based out of Salt Lake, installed the system in conjunction with an electrician. The UV light is housed within a stainless steel tube in a back room behind the pools. The company will come back monthly to make sure the filtration equipment is working properly.

Now that the pool has reopened, they will start their fall hours. All pools will be open from 5-9 a.m., noon- 1 p.m. and 2:30-9 p.m. Monday through Friday, 7 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturdays and closed Sundays when they super-chlorinate the pools. The lap pool is designated specifically for lap swimmers looking for a lunchtime or after-work workout on weekdays from noon-1 p.m. and 5-6 p.m. For more information, call (435) 783-2423.


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