NEWTON, NJ—A pair of resolutions brought out a crowd to the Newton Town Council meeting on Monday.  Residents of all ages turned out to hear and discuss the latest chapter in the story of the town pool that began in March 2019 with the announcement of the closure.

On the agenda were two resolutions that had to do with additional engineering studies on the Newton Pool, which has been closed since the council made the decision back in March of 2019.

Resolution #179-2019 and Resolution #180-2019  dealing with additional engineering studies, had everyone’s interest. 

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The first, authorizing SESI Consulting Engineers to do additional geotechnical engineering on the pool, includes $13,000 to be used for the additional studies of concrete core sampling and laboratory testing.

Per the proposal submitted by SESI, they will “spend one day with a subcontracted concrete coring company to obtain concrete core samples of the existing pool.  SESI will obtain a total of four concrete cores at locations determined by others.”

The second resolution for Suburban Consulting Engineers Inc to do additional work including ground penetrating radar (GPR) scan of the pool, in attempt to establish rebar spacing patterns for $6,800.

Council members and Town Manager Thomas S Russo Jr. were asked

  • Why are the resolutions on the consent agenda without any discussion?
  • Why are additional studies being done?
  • Why were these studies not included in the original studies?
  • Will this affect the timetable of the opening of the pool?
  • Will the engineers still present all their findings on Sept. 11?

At the end of the meeting, Russo read an email from Suburban Consulting of the time table of all that has been going on with the pool.

  • February 28, 2019: Suburban Consulting Engineer’s contract to assess the condition of the pool after pool was closed was executed with the town. SCE’s initial investigation included available data. The 2005 renovation plans of the pool were obtained from the town. Original construction plans of the pool were not available, however was believed to have been built in the late 1950’s. In addition, they found the most recent plater repairs were done in 2014 with subsequent periodic maintenance repairs performed.
  • March 2019: Initial site walkthrough requests pool dewatering from DPW to perform survey and inspection tasks. Extensive cracking and delamination at pool bottom visible upon dewatering. SCE recommends subsurface geotechnical testing and analysis to support assessment inspection, which the town then contracts directly with SESI Consulting Engineers.
  • April 3, 2019: LiDAR scan field survey of the pool performed by SCE in advance of inspection task efforts.
  • April 15, 2019: formal site inspection performed by Atlantic Aquatic Engineering, Inc. -SCE’s sub consultant
  • May 31, 2019: Coordination with town DPW & SESI to obtain access and perform geotechnical efforts. Three Soil borings and groundwater inspection port were performed by SESI. Laboratory analysis of boring samples performed upon completion.
  • June/July 2019: Review of geotechnical report and inspection findings both support additional testing measures of the concrete shell to confirm structural integrity. This testing and analysis were not initially included as part of SCE or SESI’s original scope of work efforts in attempts to minimize level of investigative costs if determined unnecessary. It has since been recommended that additional testing be taken to help determine if structural deficiencies in concrete are the direct cause of current cracking/delamination issues. Proposals from SESI and SCE have been coordinated and submitted to the town identifying the minimal level of effort necessary to perform this structural analysis.
  • August 2019: upon town resolution award of additional services, SESI to perform concrete coring and lab analysis testing to determine compressive strength and adherence capabilities. Ground penetrating radar services will be performed as part of this task in preparation of the coring to coordinate locations that minimize impacts to any steel rebar reinforcement. SCE to review structural analysis findings and coordinate with final pool assessment recommendations
  • September 2019: SCE to include concrete structural analysis in final assessment report and present these findings and recommendations to the town.

According to Russo, with the passing of the two resolutions, the companies can begin the additional studies as early as Tuesday, August 6 in order to have all of the findings available for when they present at the September meeting.

The next town council meeting will be on Wednesday, September 11 where there will be a presentation on the findings from the studies of the pool. It will be beginning at 7 p.m. in the Newton Municipal Building.