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‘The Pool is Caving In’ – Condo Collapse Victim Told Husband

Were pool leaks a sign of major structural damage?

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Champlain Towers Collapse - The Pool Is Sinking Said Victim to Husband on Phone before Collapse

It’s been a few days since the tragic collapse of an entire section of The Champlain Tower, a residential condominium near Miami, Florida. Workers and rescuers are still sifting through the rubble and trying desperately to reach any survivors who may still be trapped. Officials and engineers are still trying to isolate the direct cause of the failure and find out exactly what caused the deadly incident.

Ashley Dean awaits along with many other families to hear the ultimate fate of her little sister Cassie Stratton. In a recent interview with Sky News, Dean revealed the exact nature of the last conversation Stratton had with her husband Michael Stratton immediately before the building collapsed and the call was cut off. The haunting words of Ashley Dean convey the deep sadness and frustration the families who await the news of the fate of their loved ones feel.

Cassie Stratton was on the phone with her husband Michael Stratton when the incident occured.

‘The Pool Is Caving In’ victim told Husband

Dean says at precisely 1:30 a.m. Thursday morning, her sister Cassie was speaking with her husband Michael Stratton on her balcony. Dean said, “She was on the phone with her husband and it was a little after 1 in the morning and she says ‘Honey, the pool (deck) is caving in. The pool (decks) sinking in.’ and he said ‘What are you talking about?’; ‘The pool (deck)… it’s sinking in the ground. The ground is shaking, everything is shaking. Then she screamed a death curdling scream and the phone hung up and we’ve never been able to find her ever again.”

As of June 27th, we’ve updated this report to reflect that it was at first incorrectly reported that Cassondra Stratton saw the swimming pool cave in; it was the pool deck she actually saw caving in, not the actual swimming pool itself.

Her haunting story is merely one of many as over 159 people still remain unaccounted for in Thursdays tragedy. FEMA will be providing additional aid to the disaster site. Governor Rick DeSantis declared a state of emergency in Miami-Dade county on Thursday, which allowed President Biden to approve emergency FEMA aid.

This photo provided by Miami-Dade Fire Rescue, an extensive search and rescue operation is still underway to recover survivors.

The official death toll now stands at 4 people, with 120 people accounted for. An investigation is ongoing and rescuers are still frantically working to reach any survivors who may still be trapped underneath debris.

Experts are worried about the structural integrity of surrounding buildings in the local area. A 2018 report found numerous structural problems in The Champlain Towers building which required immediate repairs. The condo has been applying for recertification while it was attempting to address issues of a water leak from the pool area into the garage.

“There was standing water all over the parking garage,” a contractor, who asked not to be named, told the Miami Herald. The pool contractor mentioned cracking concrete and severely corroded rebar under the pool. (Updated June 28th, 2021)

A commercial Pool Contractor shared photos of the state of the pool equipment room at the Champlain Towers. These photos were taken 2 days before the incident occured. – Photo Credit: Miami Herald

Were Pool Leaks A Sign of Major Structural Damage?

The Champlain Towers Pool Area was reportedly leaking into the garage area and was going to cost millions in repairs.

Solving the leak however reportedly involved major work and would have cost millions of dollars. The recertification The Champlain Towers was undergoing was part of a standard process for similar buildings of it’s age. A law was put into place in 1974 after a similar collapse occurred at the DEA Building which killed 7 people.

An engineer named Frank Morabito of Surfside, FL conducted a survey on the building in 2018 and told the New York Times that the waterproofing below the pool deck and entrance drive was failing, “causing major structural damage to the concrete structural slab below these areas.” His report indicated that “failure to replace the waterproofing in the near future will cause the extent of the concrete deterioration to expand exponentially.”

“My sister told me about all sorts of water leaks and people on her roof with heavy equipment,” said Dean, whose hope that her sister might remain alive is quickly fading with each day that passes. “I have to be realistic; my baby is gone, my baby sister is gone.” said Dean who expressed frustration and anger in addition to her grief.

“I want to know how this could happen and who is responsible? She was living in a dream place but it was a death trap.” said Dean.

Her words echo the sentiment of many other families who want to know how such a thing could have occured and what will be done to prevent future tragedies such as the one which occured at The Champlain Towers.

Barry Cohen, a resident of the building, escaped with his wife and described cracks around the pool deck prior to the collapse. He wonders whether neighboring construction may have caused vibrations that might have weakened Champlain Towers.

Recovery operations are expected to take weeks and the complete story of what caused the collapse and who may be responsible is still unfolding.

Featured Photo Credit: ABC News

Editor in Chief of Pool Magazine - Joe Trusty is also CEO of PoolMarketing.com, the leading digital agency for the pool industry. An internet entrepreneur, software developer, author, and marketing professional with a long history in the pool industry. Joe oversees the writing and creative staff at Pool Magazine. To contact Joe Trusty email info@poolmagazine.com or call (916) 467-9118 during normal business hours. For submissions, please send your message to submissions@poolmagazine.com

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Pool News

Cody Pools Acquires Platinum Pools

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Cody Pools Announced Their Acquisition and Merge With Platinum Pools

Cody Pools, an Austin-based designer and builder of premium swimming pools and spas for residential and commercial consumers, recently acquired Platinum Pools, a Houston-based designer and builder of custom luxury swimming pools/spas and digging over 350+ pools annually while serving as one of the two largest operators in the Houston market.

Cody Pools Merges With Platinum Pools

With the transaction, Cody, which was recently named the #1 pool builder in the nation for the ninth year in a row, further expanded its position in the Houston market and now represents Texas’ most prominent actor in the pool and spa industry. Main Street Capital, a publicly traded business development company, helped fund a portion of the transaction.

Cody Pools has been rated the #1 pool builder in the United States for the previous 9 years, according to Pool and Spa News. Cody Pools announced on September 10th, that they will merge with Platinum Pools and continue to use its well-known brand name. After the merger’s completion, a long-planned CEO shift is planned from Scott Waldo to Mike Church.

About Cody Pools

Cody Pools has designed and built approximately 20,000 swimming pools since its inception in 1994. They have built a reputation as a world acclaimed pool builder built on providing uncompromising quality, award-winning designs, and leadership.

Cody Pools has offices in San Antonio, Houston, Austin, and the Tampa/St. Petersburg metropolitan area. Their strong financial standing and industry-leading has helped distinguish them from other pool builders.

About Platinum Pools

Platinum Pools has been building swimming pools for over two decades and was named one of the Top 50 Pool Companies by Pool & Spa News in 2021. This year, Platinum Pools has won a number of honors. They were named Best of the Best by the Houston Chronicle in 2021, as well as Best of Houzz in Service. In addition, the BBB Award of Excellence and the Luxury Pools and Outdoor Living Pinnacle Awards were presented. Platinum Pools, has offices in Houston, Beaumont, and Victoria.

Featured Photo Credit: Platinum Pools

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Pool News

Pentair Acquires Pleatco for $255M in Cash

Align Capital Partners announced the sale of Pleatco Filtration to Pentair Plc in a $255M cash deal.

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Pentair Acquires Pleatco for $225M in cash

Pentair plc (NYSE: PNR), a leading provider of water treatment and sustainable solutions, today announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Pleatco, a manufacturer of water filtration and clean air technologies for pool, spa and industrial air customers. Pleatco is a current portfolio company of Align Capital Partners, a private equity firm with investment teams in Dallas, TX and Cleveland, OH.

The planned acquisition of Pleatco provides Pentair an expanded range of replacement filter products to be sold through Pentair’s existing Pool and Spa distribution channels as well as through Pleatco’s distribution channels.

“We are excited to expand our presence in the aftermarket filtration space with an enhanced product offering that advances our objective to offer an effortless pool experience for consumers,” said John Stauch, Pentair President and CEO.

The planned acquisition also expands Pentair’s Industrial Filtration portfolio, with complementary air filtration products to serve the needs of its industrial customers.

“We look forward to welcoming the Pleatco employees to Pentair and to growing the relationship with Pleatco’s existing customer base,” continued Stauch. “The planned combination will provide Pleatco entry to Pentair’s global distribution and sales channels, and deliver increased production capacity and utilization, as well as build on Pleatco’s track record of product innovation.”

Total consideration for the transaction is approximately $255 million in cash, subject to customary adjustments. Pentair expects Pleatco to generate approximately $95 million of annual revenue in 2021. The transaction is expected to be accretive in its first full year.

The acquisition is anticipated to be completed in the fourth quarter, subject to customary closing conditions and necessary regulatory approvals, including expiration of the applicable waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976, as amended.

ABOUT PENTAIR PLC

Pentair makes the most of life’s essential resources. From our residential and business solutions that help people move, improve and enjoy their water, to our sustainable innovations and applications, we deliver smart, sustainable solutions for life.

Pentair had revenue in 2020 of $3 billion, and trades under the ticker symbol PNR. With approximately 9,750 global employees serving customers in more than 150 countries, we work to help improve lives and the environment around the world. To learn more, visit pentair.com.

ABOUT PLEATCO FILTRATION

Pleatco is a leading designer and manufacturer of aftermarket pleated filter cartridges, pleated bags, and other filtration products for the industrial air and pool / spa markets across USA and Europe. Pleatco Filtration brings together the combined forces of former brands APEL, Milton, and TVS and incorporates stand-alone brands Guardian Filtration, EFI and ECO Filtration under the one umbrella, leveraging collective engineering, manufacturing, and logistics resources to deliver best-in-class products backed by industry leading sales, marketing, and customer service teams. For more information, visit pleatco.com.

CAUTION CONCERNING FORWARD-LOOKING STATEMENTS

This release contains statements that we believe to be “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. All statements made about the anticipated acquisition, including the anticipated time for completing the transaction, the expected financial results of the acquired business and the anticipated benefits of the acquisition, are forward-looking statements subject to risks and uncertainties, such as the company’s ability to satisfy closing conditions, integrate the acquisition successfully, and retain customers and employees of the acquired business; the impact, duration and severity of the COVID-19 pandemic, virus variants and vaccination rates, including actions that may be taken by us, other businesses and governments to address or otherwise mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the global economy; overall global economic and business conditions; supply, demand, logistics, competition and pricing pressures related to and in markets we serve; failure of markets to accept new product introductions and enhancements; the impact of raw material costs, labor costs and other inflation; the impact of seasonality of sales and weather conditions; our ability to comply with laws and regulations and the impact of changes in laws, regulations and administrative policy, as well as other risk factors contained in our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2020. All forward-looking statements speak only as of the date of this release. Pentair plc assumes no obligation, and disclaims any obligation, to update the information contained in this release.

Contacts

Jim Lucas
Senior Vice President, Treasurer, FP&A and Investor Relations
Tel: 763-656-5575
Email: jim.lucas@pentair.com

Rebecca Osborn
Senior Manager, External Communications
Tel: 763-656-5589
Email: rebecca.osborn@pentair.com

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Pool News

9/11 Memorial Pools – An In Depth Look at The Two Reflecting Pools

On the 20th anniversary of the September 11th attacks, we look at the two pools and Delta Fountains, the pool builders behind the 9/11 Memorial.

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9/11 Memorial Pools - A Look at the Reflecting Pools

As the 20th anniversary of the attacks on September 11th approach, we take a moment to look at the 9/11 Memorial and the two reflecting pools that mark the footprint of where the Twin Towers once stood.

We are now looking back at a point in history that occurred before approximately 28.5% of Americans were ever even born. There are many memorials for the victims of 9/11, but none clearly encapsulate the raw emotions of absence the way the 9/11 Memorial does.

A look at the two reflecting pools at the 9/11 Memorial

Two reflecting pools mark the exact place of the World Trade Center and stand as a permanent place of remembrance. Both pools commemorate the names of nearly 3,000 killed in the attacks on September 11, 2001 and the World Trade Center bombing of February 26, 1993. Each of the victims names are inscribed on bronze parapets surrounding both of the memorial pools.

The two pools at the 9/11 Memorial have attracted millions of visitors each year since it first opened.
The two pools at the 9/11 Memorial have attracted millions of visitors each year since it first opened.

It’s hard to believe that two decades have gone by since the day happened that would forever change the course of our modern history. 9/11 is a moment in time that will live in as much infamy as December 7th (the attack on Pearl Habor), perhaps even more so in our generation. September 11th is important to people, and the memorial embodies what it means not only to New Yorkers who were first-hand witnesses, but to Americans who watched the events of September 11th unfold live on television.

The mourning and sorrow the nation still feels even twenty years later is evident in the amount of visitors the 9/11 Memorial draws each year. The memorial site was built to remember the victims as well as those involved in the rescue and recovery efforts.

‘Reflecting Abscence’ – The 9/11 Memorial Pools Commemorating The Victims of the September 11th Attacks

Why did they choose reflecting pools for the memorial site?

Tracing their roots back to the ancient Persian gardens, reflecting pools have been a time honored traditional memorial structure and a water feature typically found in gardens and parks. One of the most iconic reflecting pools is at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. Most reflecting pools are shallow vessels and can range in size from as small as a bird bath to as large as a major civic center water feature like the one found at the 9/11 memorial site.

The 9/11 Memorial Design Competition

An open competition for designing the memorial site drew 5,201 entries from 63 countries. The thirteen-member jury chose eight finalists on November 19, 2003.

At a press conference held at Federal Hall National Memorial on January 14, 2004, the final design for the 9/11 memorial was revealed to the public. Israeli-American architect Michael Arad of Handel Architects and landscape architecture firm Peter Walker and Partners concept ‘Reflecting Absence‘ was chosen as the winning design. Their design consisted of a forest with two large, recessed pools that represent the Twin Towers’ footprints.

Landscaping of the 9/11 Memorial plaza was done by Peter Walker & Partners Landscape Architecture
Photo Credit: Peter Walker and Partners Landscape Architecture

The deciduous trees (swamp white oaks) form informal clusters, clearings, and groves when arranged in rows. The park is located above the Memorial Museum, at street level. The names of the victims of the attacks (including those from the Pentagon, American Airlines Flight 77, United Airlines Flight 93, and the 1993 World Trade Center bombing) are inscribed on the parapets surrounding the waterfalls.

‘Reflecting Absence’ stands in the footprints of the Twin Towers

‘Reflecting Absence’ consists of two 1-acre pools. The structures are the largest man-made waterfalls in the United States. Both pools symbolize the loss of life and the physical void left by the attacks. The dual waterfalls are meant to drown out the sounds of the city, and create a peaceful haven of remembrance for what was lost.

The names of the victims of the September 11th attacks are engraved into 152 bronze parapets on the North & South pools.
The names of the victims of the September 11th attacks are engraved into 152 bronze parapets on the North & South pools.

Remembering those who were lost

On 152 bronze parapets on the memorial pools, the names of 2,983 victims are inscribed: 2,977 killed in the September 11 attacks and six killed in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

North Pool & South Pool name layouts for the 9/11 Memorial
North Pool & South Pool name layouts for the 9/11 Memorial – Photo Credit: 9/11 Memorial & Museum

The two reflecting pools at the 9/11 Memorial

The North and South Fountains at the 9/11 Memorial have combined recirculating systems that pump up to 26,000 gallons of water per minute non-stop every day of the year. The water flows over the memorial’s two deep reflecting pools’ walls before being recirculated into catch basins.

The September 11 Memorial utilizes a method of keeping water constantly flowing from a 30-foot drop regardless of the weather New York City gets. The pool is engineered in such a way so that it’s reflective qualities and the sound of falling water remain consistent through the changing seasons.

Both the North & South pools have a 30 foot waterfall.
Both the North & South pools have a 30 foot waterfall.

The Builders of The 9/11 Memorial

You may not know this, but Delta Fountains are the pool builders responsible for building the 9/11 Memorial pools. Joe Petry, President of Delta Fountains said the company has done architectural and floating fountain designs for universities, police memorials, parks and more. They are also the firm behind the Oklahoma City memorial reflecting pool, built in honor of the lives lost on April 19, 1995 and the memorial at the Pentagon. Delta collaborated on the project with Siemens for the automation, pump and flow controls. Dan Euser of Waterarchitecture also worked on the project as well

Joe Petry – President of Delta Fountains, the pool builders behind the 9/11 memorial pools – Photo Credit: Jacksonville.com

Challenges in Engineering

There were more than a few challenging engineering feats Delta had to achieve in order to build the pools for the 9/11 memorial site. The weir structure they devised had specific requirements, one was the ability to easily adjust and level water flow to within 1/16th inch over 1400 linear feet.

The 9/11 Memorial took ten years of planning and building before it was completed in 2011.
The 9/11 Memorial took ten years of planning and building before it was completed in 2011.

Another challenge for Delta was avoiding dry spots. Engineers accomplished this thanks to integral-design adjustability which allows for constant expansion and contraction of adhesive materials while still maintaining structural integrity. They devised a method of adding ribs which helped to prevent buckling and allowed field welding.

16 pumps to blast an impressive 26,000 gallons a minute over the 30-foot deep black granite walls of the 9/11 memorial
16 pumps blast an impressive 26,000 gallons a minute over the 30-foot deep black granite walls of the 9/11 memorial

How the reflecting pools are controlled and maintained

By far one of the most impressive aspects to these two reflective pools is the sophisticated smart chemical filtration system they use. The system is able to anticipate and react to New York’s inclimate weather conditions on the fly.

Chief Engineer – Anthony LoCasto, says it takes a crew of three men to clean the pools 5 nights a week and roughly 8 hours to clean, vaccuum and brush each of the memorial pools.

Watch the maintenance crew caring for the pool at the 9/11 memorial site.

Both of the pools utilize a total of 16 pumps to circulate 26,000 gallons of water each minute. The system is responsible for circulating over 480,000 gallons of recycled water.

There is also a cutting-edge networked control management system which effectively monitors over a thousand different data points about the pools to maintenance personnel, making it one of the smartest pools on the planet.

White Rose displayed above one of the victims names. – Photo Credit: Rudy Stankowitz

The maintenance crews perform goes far beyond simply maintaining the pools; displaying a reverence for the victims with gestures of remembrance. One of their duties is placing a white rose on top of each victim’s name who has a birthday each day before the memorial opens to the general public.

The project, which also includes an underground museum that utilizes parts of the fallen towers, had a budget of $610 million and offically opened to the public on September 12, 2011; ten years and one day after the September 11th attacks.

Watch a time lapse of “How the 9/11 Memorial Was Built“. We hope you’ve enjoyed this article on learning what role folks in the pool industry had in creating the September 11 memorial. If you think it’s important to share the story, please do so. Feel free to make a donation to the 9/11 Memorial & Museum who are preserving the history of the events of September 11th for future generations to come.

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