Pool will close January 24th for flood debris removal.
by Robin Cravey
The flood debris in the Pool almost began to seem like the weather. As Mark Twain said, everyone talks about it, but no one does anything about it. But that’s about to change.
City Parks Dept. staff will give the contractor the go-ahead on January 17th. The Pool will close to swimmers on January 24th and open again by March 12th. When it opens, the giant slug of rocks, gravel, sludge, and stuff that raises the deep end bottom from 12 feet to 6 feet will be gone! The bottom will be 12 feet deep again!
The process will be fascinating, and we’ll be keeping a close eye on it. The contractors will set up a crane at the top of the hill on the south side. Workers will set up a coffer dam around the flood debris and dewater that area. Then the crane will lift out the debris so that it can be trucked away.
Removing the flood debris is part of an overall effort to restore the pool to a more natural state. In a natural free-flowing creek, the flood debris would be washed down the creek. Instead, the dam that forms Barton Springs Pool traps the flood debris, and the flood debris acts as a second dam, trapping more flood debris.
The giant bulge grows inexorably, slowly filling the pool and increasing stagnation. It also traps silt, building up a deep oozing sludge on the bottom behind its rocky wall. When the pool is full of swimmers, they stir up the sediment, turning the water thickly murky.
Once flood debris was dredged from the pool regularly, but the debris has not been thoroughly cleaned out since 1991. This was part of a pattern of neglect.
Swimmers rebelled against the neglect of the pool in 2006, and began organizing volunteer cleaning sessions. We called for action. After a long public process, the Barton Springs Pool Master Plan was written, urgent short-term projects were funded, and long-term projects were adopted. Among the short-term projects is removal of the flood debris.
We congratulate the staff on finally moving to get the job done.
Long time Communications Chair Chasity Keen Larios (right, with FBSP President Robin Cravey) left the board to join the board of the DiscoverHope Fund. We know she’ll do a dynamite job for them.
Several vice-chair positions still available for those with the ambition.