Wet weather slows pool business, road work

Liz Hayes
| Monday, July 8, 2013, 10:19 a.m.

This summer's rain may be good for gardeners, but it has people pouting at pools and on paving jobs.

“We took a big hit in June,” said Nancy Tarella, manager of the Leechburg Area Pool in Gilpin. “Many days I'd start to open, and it would rain. Some days we didn't open at all. You can't make money if you're not open.”

About 5 12 inches of rain fell in June, more than an inch above normal, said meteorologist Lee Hendricks of the National Weather Service in Moon. The greatest amount in a 24-hour period was 1.7 inches from June 25 to 26.

Rain fell in calculable amounts on 15 days in June, and trace amounts fell on five more days, according to weather service records. Only two days in July have been completely dry.

“The weather has definitely affected our business negatively,” said Joel Boguslawski, general manager of White's Paving in West Franklin. “It's so streaky sometimes that it's hard to plan around. It can be beautiful in the morning and pouring in the afternoon and vice versa.

“We try to plan accordingly, but we've had to reschedule and even cancel some jobs so far this summer, and it backs us up,” he said.

PennDOT spokesman Steve Cowan said five projects in Beaver and Allegheny counties were either postponed or had their schedules extended because of poor weather. The closest project to the Alle-Kiski Valley involves a collapsed pipe in Shaler that closed a northbound lane of Route 8.

“We have only 120 to 160 working days in a season,” said Andrea Houser, secretary-treasurer of J.R. Paving and Construction Co. Inc. in Latrobe. “When you lose a week, you're not going to make it up.”

The outdoor swimming season has an equally narrow window.

“It's been tough. The weather has hampered a lot of our typical business,” said Dave Hartman, assistant manager of Vandergrift's Joseph A. Petrarca Pool. “For the first half of the summer, we are not tracking as we normally would.

“We're hoping for a strong second half to summer and that Mother Nature cooperates,” he added.

The weekend got off swimmingly on Saturday, with a high temperature near 90 and clear skies. But the rain returned Sunday; the Vandergrift pool closed in the afternoon.

Tarella said she reduced staff hours at Leechburg's financially strapped pool to try to keep costs down since not as much money is coming in.

The rain has caused other problems. The baby pool was flooded and had to be closed for more than a day last month until it was rechlorinated. Part of the pool yard has been roped off because Tarella said the rain made it swampy.

Pool officials at Leechburg, Vandergrift and Springdale Township's Bouquet Park Pool said keeping pool chemicals and pH balanced with the influx of fresh water can be challenging.

Tarella was able to find a silver lining to rain clouds: “We've been letting water out of the pool. We're usually putting water in the pool due to evaporation. I guess it's saved on our water bill.”

Liz Hayes is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-226-4680 or lhayes@tribweb.com. Staff writers Braden Ashe, Nicole Chynoweth and Matthew Santoni contributed.

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