In the midst of Colorado's drought, the U.S. Air Force Academy continues to keep their outdoor pool open, despite tests that show it is leaking thousands of gallons of water every day. KKTV first reported this on Monday. On Wednesday, Air Force officials commented about the problem.
KKTV’s Lauri Martin obtained several internal emails, plus she confirmed information with independent sources. All of them confirm the pool leak has been a problem for quite some time. They also say the Academy is trying to sweep the problem under the carpet.
Colonel Jim Riggins is Vice Commander of the 10th Air Base Wing. He oversees facility maintenance at the Academy, and he allowed our news crew to sit down with him for 20 minutes.
According to our sources, about 16,000 gallons of water goes down the drain every day. But Col. Jim Riggins says those numbers are wrong. "The results are the same amount of loss last week with this week between 9 and 10,000 gallons."
Col. Riggins says he's known about the pool problem since last fall. He says, "repairs were made, but obviously didn't work." So he says “Plan B” was to run tests this summer, after the pool was filled, to see how many gallons the pool actually leaks. Engineers conducted a test last week and then another one on Wednesday. KKTV reporter Lauri Martin asked, "Do you think w could get a copy of what the engineers came up with?" Col. Riggins’ response was, “I'm not sure if there is a written report, but it won't say anything more than 9,000 last week and 10,000 this week.” After that, Col. Riggins did produce a copy of the latest test on the pool. It indicates that nearly 12,000 gallons of water are leaking every day.
Col. Riggins was also shown the information in several internal emails 11 News obtained from some of the people who maintain the pool. Martin pointed out some key statements in those transmissions. "It even talks about how you consciously know about the problem and leave the refill valve open all summer, so you can keep pool open all summer.” Col. Riggins’ response was, “And the information you have is inaccurate.'"
Col. Riggins assured us, the Academy is worried about this problem. "We try to follow water conservation program dictated by the City of Colorado Springs." He said for now, the pool will remain open. But he says after he looks at the pool tests, and if the pool is leaking that much water, they will shut it down. That decision will be made sometime this week.
Colorado Springs Utilities officials say they will keep in contact with the Academy on this issue as well.