Leaking pipes under Quiet Waters Park ice rink defy repair efforts

April 14, 1994|By John Rivera | John Rivera,Sun Staff Writer

County officials and a contractor are still trying to decide what is causing pipes under the ice skating rink at Quiet Waters Park in Annapolis to corrode and leak.

In the meantime, the county is taking steps to ensure that repairs will be made and skaters will not be iceless next winter.

The rink, which attracts as many as 1,000 people a day during the holidays, was ordered closed in December, less than a week after the skating season began.

Several leaks were detected in the nearly two miles of pipes embedded an inch under the pond's concrete foundation that carry pressurized Freon to chill the ice. The leaks dropped the pressure of the refrigerant and kept it from flowing safely in the pipes.

The rink was built in 1990 for $915,000 by C. W. Davis Supply Co. of Syracuse, N.Y.

County officials have drafted legislation that will transfer $170,000 of the $1.3 million left over from the reconstruction of Bestgate Road to pay for rebuilding the rink if the contractor can't fix it or won't rebuild it.

"This is sort of an insurance thing," said Michael Murdoch, Quiet Waters park superintendent. "We haven't given up on C. W. Davis, as far as I'm concerned."

The county's Planning Advisory Board approved the fund transfer Tuesday night, and it will go to the County Council for a public hearing and a vote.

Gregory Nourse, a county budget analyst, told the planning board that the county intends to pursue legal action against the contractor if the rink is not fixed.

Crews from C. W. Davis have attempted repairs several times, but every time workers fill the pipes with nitrogen -- which will not harm the environment if it escapes -- more leaks are discovered.

Mr. Murdoch said Davis' work crews last visited about three weeks ago to take samples of the concrete for chemical testing to see if a reaction between the concrete, water and pipes is causing the corrosion.

Ronald McHargue, president of C. W. Davis, said he is still waiting for test results and does not know what is wrong.

"We don't have any evidence to tell us what [is happening] or why, and that is what we are waiting for," Mr. McHargue said.

He was dismayed to hear talk of legal action.

"We have been in contact with the county and have kept them up to date with all that's been done," he said. "And we're surprised to see something said such as this."

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