One of the wonderful things about Shoalstone Pool is that its water is refreshed by the tide on a regular basis. As regular Shoalstone swimmers will know, there is no keeping the sea out during the twice-monthly spring tides – it laps over the walls, the excess draining out as the tide falls.
This is not enough on its own to keep the pool clean, though.
Every ten days or so during the season we have to drain the pool completely, with our team of volunteers (led by Charlie the caretaker) scrubbing the floor and walls to remove the algae that builds up. We use a minimal amount of chlorine during this process, and this season we are experimenting with some environmentally friendly options which hopefully will cut out the need for that altogether.
These pool cleans are important not just to make sure the water is pleasant and safe to swim in, but also to make sure the water clarity is good enough for the lifeguards to be able to do their jobs! Algae can build up quickly during hot weather giving the water a greenish hue. Whilst this is not dangerous to health, it does make it very difficult for the lifeguards to see what is going on in the water.
There are, given the exposed nature of our site, a number of restrictions on when we are able to carry out pool cleans. We need the high tide to be at least 4.7m in order to guarantee that it will refill the pool, and the timings of the tides ideally need to fall within daylight hours! We also try to avoid weekends when the pool is at its busiest. The weather conditions are also a consideration, but these are a little harder to predict…
With this in mind, we have put together a planned schedule of pool cleans for 2017 which we are going to do our very best to stick to. These are included on our events calendar, but for ease of reference the dates on which we are planning to close the pool are as follows:
Thursday 8th June
Monday 12th June
Thursday 22nd June
Wednesday 28th June
Tuesday 11th July
Monday 24th July
Tuesday 8th August
Monday 21st August
In between these planned dates there will be a number of overnight ‘flushes’ when the pool will be fully emptied and refilled. Whilst we hope to open during our normal hours of 10am to 6pm on those days access might be restricted out of hours whilst the valve is open – please abide by the red flag and any other warnings and do not enter the pool at these times.
There may also be times when we have to close the pool for cleaning unexpectedly, either due to bad weather conditions bringing in seaweed and other debris, good weather increasing the amount of algal bloom, or human factors which have previously led to closures due to dog waste bags or glass being thrown in the pool, for example. We are very aware that last minute closures can cause major disappointment, particularly if the weather is good, but we hope you understand that we never take the decision to close the pool unless it is entirely necessary.
If you have any questions about the pool cleaning process, or you would like to join our team of volunteers working to keep the pool at its best, then please get in touch!