Image Courtesy of Texas Parks and Wildlife
After months of evaluations, Texas Parks and Wildlife is naming erosion as the primary cause of a structural failure at Balmorhea State Park Pool. The popular summer swimming hole has been closed since May, when a part of the pool wall beneath the diving board collapsed during an annual cleaning.
According to TPWD officials, the damaged concrete “apron” is adjacent to where water from San Solomon Springs enters the pool. They say a pattern of swirling water has been working away at the area for decades.
Balmorhea Park Superintendent Carolyn Rose says a team of contracted engineers and architects has been working to draft a repair plan that won’t disrupt the pool’s delicate ecosystem.
“We have 5 endangered aquatic species in the system, so we also have to make sure that while we’re repairing the structural problem, that we’re protecting those species and that they’re not going to be endangered in any way,” she says.
Crews will have to demolish and reconstruct the wall by hand, without heavy equipment.
Officials haven’t yet named a firm start date for reconstruction, but Rose expects repairs to begin in mid-August. They’re expected to last several months — Rose says she’s confident that the pool will be open by Summer of 2019 at the latest.
Texas Parks and Wildlife estimates repairs will cost $2 million.