Anyone who has looked at the Sunrise Pool lately has probably been wondering how it even holds water with all the cracks in the sides and bottom.
The truth is that it actually didn’t! It’s been leaking badly for some time. Recently I capped the inlet and observed that the level dropped just under 3 inches per hour. Obviously, something had to be done. Rather than just complaining about it on the forums, a group of volunteers showed up last week and just did what needed to be done.
Believe it or not, the pool was in worse shape than it appeared. When they started scraping the loose flaky material off the bottom, they found that half the bottom was actually made of loose flaky material! They ended up having to remove up to 2” of the old bottom before they got down to sound concrete.
This debris was hauled out of the valley in a 55 gallon drum and properly disposed of. That left the bottom of the pool about 2 inches below the drain hole. Re-pouring the whole bottom was not part of the plan, so they didn’t bring enough material to do that. Just as plans were being made to send someone to Bishop for more concrete, Lizard Lee came by and told the crew about a stash of Redi-Mix that was left over from some long-forgotten repair project. Luckily it had been kept dry and the crew was able to salvage enough of it to re-float the bottom back up to the proper depth.
That process added a whole day to the project but it really had to be done. The resulting job will last much longer than it otherwise would have. Given how long it lasted the last time, we should be good for quite a while.
While the bottom was curing, high-strength construction epoxy was squirted into the cracks as deep as possible. This is the stuff Cal-Trans uses to repair cracked concrete bridges and road surfaces. After it cures it’s not only waterproof, but it also bonds across the crack to keep it from spreading.
After the epoxy cured, it was time to start smearing plaster.
Every job needs a supervisor!
Plastering proved to be a challenge as the temperature hit 109 degrees Fahrenheit on the day the first coat went on. In case you’ve never applied cement plaster when it’s 109, just understand that you can’t trowel it on fast enough to get it smoothed before it starts to set up. Several different mixes and methods were tried over the next 2 days before a suitable finish coat was achieve Friday morning.
Great care was taken during the plastering process not to remove the legacies of our predecessors.
By Friday morning it was time to put the tools away and let the sun and the cement do their things.
The valve was re-opened at 17:30 on Friday!
The first water into the foot bath came 55 minutes later. The water comes directly from the Source, so it’s quite hot! The air temperature was still about 100 degrees, so most of the crew weren’t too anxious to hop right it. Finally, Dennis took up the challenge.
He pronounced it to be “Satisfactory”!
The crew would like to thank Lizard Lee for his technical advise and concrete. Thanks also to Greg, a first-time visitor who jumped right in and helped sling mud, when he could have just been relaxing in the shade. Big thanks to Tim for helping with the demo and plastering, but especially for the omelets he made for the crew for breakfast! Thanks to Michelle for taking all the pictures. Finally, thanks to everyone who donates to SPA for providing the funding for the plaster and epoxy. Without your donations, we’d have had to wait for the Park Service to address the issue. Most of us don’t have that much time left!