Waterfront: October 2009

Overseas Exchange

Stateside builder helps revamp pool in Iraq

Ggg 1009 AqIn February 2008, Steve White, president and owner of Underwater Pool Masters in West Boylston, Mass., received an unexpected phone call. It was a man identifying himself as Air Force Major Jason Terry, in search of advice on how to revamp an abandoned pool in Iraq so troops could use it for recreation and work.

When White first got the call he thought it was a joke, but soon was proved wrong.

"Sure enough," he says, "it was Major Terry calling me by cell phone, and he had this pool his guys wanted to use, but it had some bomb craters in it. They didn't know how to renovate it, so it had been shut down. We spent hours on the phone for months. I never left my office!"

A previous unit had attempted the pool renovation project was unable to complete it because of a water shortage, so Major Terry sought advice from White.

"I could really use some instruction on everything from proper terminology to general information on what I got here," Major Terry wrote in an e-mail. "It appears to be very similar to my residential pool, but on a larger scale.  Is this a fair statement?

"I don't care much about how it looks, but I do want a final product that will be in good working order.  I have access to inexpensive unskilled labor, a large quantity of concrete and most construction machinery you can name."

Throughout their pool renovation partnership, the two exchanged numerous e-mails containing schematics, photos, anything that would help White diagnose the pool's ailment and instruct Major Terry in how to get it up and running.

"I have attached an updated sketch," wrote Major Terry. "I got with the electrician today and we got power to the pump house. Both the number 2 recirculation and drainage pumps are inop. Based on what I'm seeing, this will directly impact my ability to backwash, but I will stand by for more info."

"Your recent sketches add helpful information to our problem," replied White. "It appears to me that certain areas are probably fine as they are, but assuming a 7 hour turnover rate, 1,212 gallons per minute must be circulated through your three filters. Each pump must deliver at least 400+ gallons per minute. Assuming that as many as two of your pumps may be operable, one or two additional pumps might be necessary. In order to suggest the proper pump, I would need the current horsepower of the units you have and the inlet and outlet pipe dimension. Also, it would be helpful to know if the motors are one phase or three phase."

Major Terry completed the pool project, but had a few unexpected hiccups once it opened.

"After they got it up and running, and there were no leaks and everything was working fine," says White, "Major Terry called me and up again and said, 'We have this problem. When the sandstorms come across, the pool gets filled with sand.'

"I said, 'Don't you have a bunch of guys just kind of standing around between jobs? Why don't you get one of your big tents, or some big piece of material and make a cover out of it. And when you know the sandstorm's coming get all those guys together and just pull it over the pool.'

"It worked great!"

As if helping the soldiers wasn't reward enough, White received a special commendation from Army Captain Daniel Kahlhamer, pool project officer in charge, for his dedication to bringing the abandoned pool to life for American troops overseas.

Giving Back

AquaStar donates $25,000 through successful recycle program

Eee 1009 AqWhile AquaStar ended its National Buy Back Program June 30, the program's success will be longstanding. After collecting more than 100,000 non-compliant drain covers, AquaStar donated $25,000 to Safe Kids USA.

"The most important thing is that thousands of unsafe drains are off the market permanently, and that means fewer lives will be at risk," says Olaf Mjelde, AquaStar co-founder.

Safe Kids USA is a member of Safe Kids Worldwide, a global network of organizations whose mission is to prevent accidental childhood injury.

"This new partnership with AquaStar will allow Safe Kids USA to continue our dedication to keeping children safe in and around pools," says Mitch Stoller, president and CEO of Safe Kids Worldwide. "AquaStar's support will allow us to continue to reach parents and caregivers with critical and life-saving safety information."

Through the National Buy Back Program, AquaStar purchased non-VGB-compliant drains from distributors and retailers and recycled all of the materials, guaranteeing none would end up in a landfill. In exchange for the non-compliant drains, distributors and retailers received credits to purchase compliant covers.


n. a vacation spent at home or nearby

Rivero~2 1009AQUA Magazine uses the word "staycation" in almost every issue, and we're not the only ones. Thanks to its constant appearance in American publications the last few years, it's finally found a home in the Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary.

"Our language evolves in many ways," John Morse, president and publisher of Merriam-Webster told The Associated Press. "As we've seen from our 'Open Dictionary' feature on www.merriam-webster.com, people enjoy blending existing words, like combining 'stay' and 'vacation' to make 'staycation'. Staycation is a good example of a word meeting a need and establishing itself in the language very quickly. Our earliest record of use is from 2005, but it seems to have exploded into popular use in 2007."

According to Morse, just because you don't see a word in the dictionary doesn't mean they aren't aware of it. The wordsmiths follow a word sometimes for years before they include it in the dictionary, just to make sure it isn't a fad that will fade over time.

"Staycation" is just one of 100 words that will enter Merriam-Webster in the 2009 edition. It joins such terms as "frenemy," "vlog," "webisode," "waterboarding" and "carbon footprint."


Who needs a builder when you can do it yourself?

Ddd 1009 AqInspired by a soak in the Rockies at Steamboat Springs, Mark McColloch took it upon himself to build his own little escape. McColloch keeps his wood-fired stone hot tub a steaming 105 degrees year round. McColloch enjoys taking full advantage of the panoramic view while sitting in his tub, not to mention sharing it with the recipients of his annual Christmas card.

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