Mt. Lebanon pool architect does not recommend opening on June 15

Published Jun 11, 2014 at 1:16 pm (Updated Jun 11, 2014 at 1:16 pm)

Mt. Lebanon is racing to finish its newly-renovated swimming pool by the June 15 deadline. Delays related to weather and unforeseen site conditions have “compressed” the project time line, according to recreation director Dave Donnellan. The pool must pass inspection by Allegheny County on June 13, and the pool area must also be cleared of construction refuse such as screws and nails.

The project architect, Mark Edelmann, said he did not recommend opening the pool Sunday.

“It is down to the wire and we will not have much time for staff to learn to operate the equipment, or for contractors to sweep the grounds.” He added, however, that he had not identified any existing safety issues.

“What I am talking about is general time to triple and quadruple check things,” Edelmann said. Normally he prefers to see three to five days of soft start-up time before a pool opens to the public.

Recreation director Donnellan said he remained reluctant to push the opening date prematurely.

“We can get our lifeguard staff out there with metal directors. There are a lot of them and they would probably welcome some hours,” he said.

The issue may well be decided when the county checks the facility’s water balance Friday. If the water fails inspection, it is unlikely another inspection could occur before Sunday.

The recreation department will make a final decision Friday.

Mt. Lebanon commissioners also grilled representatives from Republic Services over a breakdown in the municipality’s trash collection. Some residents have not had trash collected since Memorial Day. Mt. Lebanon hired the company as its waste removal vendor in January.

Matt Spencer, manager of municipal services with Republic, explained that two drivers were responsible for the delays. One had personal issues that disrupted his work performance. The other “just wasn’t doing what was right,” according to Spencer. He said both drivers had been fired on June 10 and that the company had assigned a new route foreman to supervise trash collection in Mt. Lebanon.

Spencer estimated that by deploying one or two extra trucks Republic could catch up on trash collection by June 13.

Municipal manager Steve Feller said Mt. Lebanon would make use of contractual provisions regarding late collection to reduce payments to Republic where possible. He said he and commissioners remain concerned about the company’s ability to perform in the future.

“We had you five years ago and you were good,” Feller said. “Service was good. Since January, we’ve heard some communities have had good experiences with you and others have had bad experiences.”

Commission president Kristen Linfante echoed Feller’s statements. “More than a few municipalities recommended against Republic,” she said.

Spencer explained that some service deficiencies had resulted from thin resources and difficult weather conditions in the winter months. Republic has since addressed shortages by renting additional equipment.

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