UV system approved to reduce chlorine levels at Hampton High School’s pool

Wednesday, February 12, 2020 | 11:00 PM

A new ultraviolet pool system that will lower chlorine exposure to swimmers at Hampton’s high school pool could arrive later this month.

The Hampton school board approved the purchase of the Hanovia UV System from B&R Pools for the cost of $29,400 at its Feb. 10 meeting. The purchase is made through a COSTARS contract, Pennsylvania’s cooperative purchasing program which provides for cost-effective and efficient transactions between partners and its members, according to the government website.

The system will help decrease the high chlorine levels in the pool. Hampton has a co-ed varsity swim and diving team at the high school and several community groups use the pool as well.

Rick Farino, district building and grounds supervisor, visited school districts that already use the system, including North Allegheny and Baldwin, and reported it to be effective and guaranteed to lower chlorine exposure to swimmers.

Several swimmers and parents at the Feb. 3 school board meeting commented that they felt the chlorine levels were definitely high and uncomfortable.

Carly Apaliski is a mom of two sons presently on the Hampton swim and diving team and had coached swimming there in the past. She said the air “is oppressive.” Several parents that evening also commented they felt it unhealthy.

The UV system should solve this problem, according to board discussion.

HTSD Superintendent Dr. Michael Loughead said they are working with the vendor to hopefully have the system arrive by Feb. 18. And if it does, they’ll quickly work with the swim coach at Hampton to ensure they do not interfere with any swimming or diving schedules to install it.

Farino said the installation will take an entire day.

Greg Stein, school board member, said the ultraviolet system not only gets the chlorine out of the air but also kills the bacteria in the air.

Several parents at the Feb 3 board meeting also requested that the air should be tested above actively moving water, not at the side of the pool or when the water is still.

Loughead spoke with their vendor who has been doing the testing for several years and said they will test “while the pool is churning and moving, not staying still.”

A thorough test on the general air, vents, and for chloramines, was set to be done last week, according to Loughead.

Chloramines are a type of combined chlorine that form in water and then release off gas into the air above the water, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website.

Loughead said the vendor will report back to the district and board on the levels and findings.

He said they want to ensure the results meet Hampton’s high level of expectations. If there is anything unsatisfactory uncovered by the testing, Loughead indicated they will immediately work to resolve the issue.

“We will bring the information to everybody and the public when it’s available,” said Loughead.

The testing will be done prior to and after the installation and Loughead said testing should be done quarterly moving forward.

Melissa Berkabile, a resident who has two children on the swim and diving team at Hampton, suggested that they could have fans for the pool to help with air movement. She noted that North Allegheny, Mt. Lebanon and Gateway school districts have “super-high ceilings” but since Hampton does not, a fan could be useful.