Beccles Lido leak located

A LEAK in Beccles’ outdoor pool which is estimated to have cost a council �100,000 in water bills over more than a decade has finally been located.

Beccles Lido volunteers found the leak in the underground pipework after water levels continued to fall.

A leak at the pool has been suspected for many years but has only just been discovered.

The lido used to be run by Waveney District Council but a combination of lack of funds combined with its age led to it becoming run-down and uneconomical to run.

It reopened last August after years of hard work by community volunteers.

Before it reopened a lot of work was done on the main tank to eliminate leaks, so volunteers were disappointed to find that water levels continued to fall, leading to higher bills than expected. Graham Norgate, the technical project manager and volunteer co-ordinator at the lido, spent a lot of time observing water movement and deduced that the water was leaking out of the pool into the four inlet pipes in the shallow end. Large holes were dug to expose pipework and in the fourth hole a completely fractured pipe was discovered.

Mr Norgate said: “It was vital that we located and fixed the leak as it has a major impact on the financial viability of the lido. After months of watching and thinking, and days of digging, we are celebrating the underground discovery and now need to work on getting it repaired.”

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Beccles lido meter readings show that they have used 60 cubic metres of water a day during the season, the majority due to the leak.

The cost of the water alone was approaching �100 per day and the cost of the gas required to heat the water added further significant costs.

Over the last 10 to 20 years volunteers say the cost of the leak is likely to have been in the region of �100,000 at today’s prices.

Graham Elliott, staunch supporter of the lido, said: “Now in Beccles Lido ownership, with its volunteer base and commitment to making the pool sustainable, the long-term maintenance and repairs are finally being undertaken.”

Beccles Lido director, Shaun Crowley said: “These measures will make the pool more environmentally and financially sustainable.”

A spokesman for Waveney District Council said: “As the Beccles Lido team know, one of the main reasons behind the council’s decision to hand the pool over was the considerable costs associated with repair and maintenance costs which were borne by the local taxpayer and which were insufficient to return it to a full operational condition.

“We were aware of the crack and periodically completed repairs on various areas of the pool and plant to reduce the loss of water, this included various cracks in the structure, valves and pipework. However, we cannot be certain how long this specific issue has existed and any suggestion of the level of financial loss, however dramatic, is pure guesswork.

“Nevertheless, we are very pleased that the new pool owners have rectified the problem.”