The irony is that if these pools have single main-drains they're going to be in the exact same boat in a few months.
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Chicago Sun-Times
October 6, 2011 Thursday
SPORTS; Pg. 57
Drain issues force pool closings
TIM O'BRIEN. For Sun-Times Media


The Illinois Department of Public Health has shut down more than 500 swimming pools statewide, including those at numerous high schools.


The pools were closed as of Saturday for failure to comply with a mandate to ­install a new, safer drain.

"We're hoping to get it fixed ASAP," Oak Forest athletic director Sue Bonner said. "We're scrambling right now because we can't host practices or meets until we are allowed back in the pool. You can't cancel the season. We're working with other schools, scrambling for pool time."


Oak Forest, Bremen, Hillcrest and Tinley Park, all in Bremen Dist. 228, have had their pools closed, as have Argo, Homewood-Flossmoor, Mount Carmel, Reavis, T.F. South and Thornton in the south suburbs.

"The pools are closed as of right now," District 228 superintendent Bill Kendall said. "We have been working for a number of months to get the permits to remediate the pools. It is a long process to get them.

"We were making progress, and there was the assumption that if you were making progress, [the Department of Public Health] won't close you. They sent a letter to the contrary. We didn't think they would close us."

Elsewhere, suburban high school pools that have been closed include Fenwick, Glenbrook South, Libertyville, Lyons, Morton East, Morton West, Proviso East and Proviso West. In the Public League, pools have been closed at Amundsen, Bowen, Clark, Collins, Crane, DuSable, Fenger, Harper, Hirsch, Kelvyn Park, Lindblom, Manley, Phillips, Roosevelt, Senn, Tilden, Uplift, Vocational, Von Steuben and Wells.

Bonner said other schools in the South Suburban Conference have been approached for available pool hours until the drains have been fixed. For some though, available pool hours are slim.

Vernon Hills and Libertyville have made arrangements for their remaining home meets to be hosted by opposing teams and have set up workout schedules at other North Suburban Conference schools.

Fenwick cancelled its girls swim meet Tuesday against Loyola and is "scrambling" to make alternate plans for practice, according to school spokeswoman Jen Butler. Options include Oak Park-River Forest, Triton College and a pool in Burr Ridge.

The Lyons North Campus pool in LaGrange has been repaired, according to school community relations director Jennifer Bialobok, and is awaiting a state inspection that would allow it to reopen.

The new drains are required under the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act. In 2002, 7-year-old Virginia Graeme Baker drowned after she was trapped underwater by the suction from a hot tub drain. The act was signed into law in 2007 requiring anti-entrapment drain covers and other safety devices.

Contributing: Jeff Bonato, Bill Dwyer, Jane Michaels
October 6, 2011

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