City Council members and staff discussed the leak at the city's pool with the YMCA of Southeast Missouri's Board of Directors during a special joint meeting Monday at City Hall.
Jiggs Moore, parks division director, said crews have spent seven days and dug five holes through the concrete trying to find the leak.
"They couldn't locate it," Moore said. "They just haven't had any luck."
Moore said they believe they have narrowed it down to two possibilities, however: under the pool or a particular stainless steel tube.
"Both of those would be extremely costly to find and then repair," he said.
The pool is leaking an estimated 900 gallons per hour, according to Moore. He said it is possible there are bleeder lines that are taking the leaked water into the city's storm sewer system.
Deke Lape, chairman of the YMCA board, said the general contractor on the pool's construction project, Howard Gipson of Gipson Construction, indicated to him that if a leak is found it should be easily fixed.
"Fixing the leak is not going to be the problem," Moore said. "Finding it is."
Jeff Partridge, executive director of the local YMCA, said as they hope to break ground in the fall and construction is expected to take about one year, the new facility should be completed by the fall or winter of 2008. This would mean the next summer a pool would be open would be the summer of 2009.
The new facility's indoor pool "will be accessible to the general public," he said, probably with daily open swim sessions in the summers and weekend or occasional open swim sessions in the other seasons.
Partridge said as the YMCA's plans are to build on top of the current pool's location, it would have been closed for the summer of 2008 anyway.
Councilman Jerry Pullen said the issue boils down to "how much are we willing to spend for a pool this year?"
"If we can do it for $5,000 or $10,000 it may be worth doing it to have a pool this summer," Marshall said. "We want to try to provide a pool."
Council members agreed to spend no more than $5,000 looking for the leak.
Partridge said there is also the issue of staffing the pool, however. He said the YMCA usually employs 8-10 people for the swimming season and he needs to tell potential staff if they will have a job at the pool this year or not soon.
City officials said they will advise Partridge by Monday on whether they have found and will fix the leak or not.
Partridge said if the pool was only leaking as it was at the beginning of last year's swimming season, they could operate it even with the leak.
"It got worse as the summer went on," he recalled, until the pool was leaking about 6 inches of water per hour by the end of the season.
Partridge said a consultant for the national YMCA advised against incorporating the old pool into the new facility for cost reasons.
The pool was built in 1992 or 1993, officials at the meeting recalled.