Whitmore Pool slowly leaking into oblivion.
The Whitmore Pool has outlived its projected lifespan, and the Town of Mammoth Lakes is at a crux with regard to continuing maintenance. The facility is operated by the TOML Recreation Department on land leased from the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP). The current complex includes a 25-meter pool, children’s wading pool, restrooms, showers, and lawn area. It is currently being used by the Mammoth Lakes Swim Team for pre-season practice and will open for regular season free swim on June 19.
According to Recreation Manager Stuart Brown, the Whitmore Pool is about 40 years old and well beyond its expected lifespan. The pool sits near a natural geothermal hot spring, but is heated using propane in a closed plumbing system in accordance with Health Department Code. Brown told The Sheet that it currently costs the town about $25,000 per month to operate the pool. A recent assessment by independent pool consultant and contractor Stan Zielinski revealed that the pool leaks about 1,000 gallons of water per day.
Zielinski discovered the leak about a week ago while replacing an old pump at the Whitmore Pool. “That’s an enormous amount of water lost to leaks, but it’s not the water loss or the energy we lose, it’s the heating. Using propane, and not geothermal heat, that costs the town an enormous amount of money.” According to Brown, a leak of that scale is costing the TOML an additional $12-15,000 annually in propane. Brown added that while the town values Zielinski’s input and assistance, the contractor does not speak for the town. In order to fix the leak indefinitely, the concrete pool would likely need to be re-poured, a project that would cost upwards of $300,000. Brown said it was hard to imagine that kind of an investment in a facility that is so far past its planned use period.