More than 100 people had to be evacuated from the Maple Ridge Leisure Centre and Greg Moore Youth Centre on Saturday after a sensor detected a chlorine gas leak in the room where the public pool’s chlorination system is housed.
After reopening Saturday, the facility was closed again on Sunday after a second chlorine alarm went off.
District of Maple Ridge spokesperson Fred Armstrong said there was never a threat to public safety, but the facilities were evacuated as a precautionary measure.
“The level that was detected was way below what is harmful,” he said. “But we thought it was best to err on the side of caution.”
Just after 1 p.m. on Saturday, sensors detected higher than normal chlorine gas levels and an alarm was sounded. A level of one part per million in the air of the facility’s chlorine room, which is located outside of the building and isolated from public areas, was detected.
Chlorine gas is considered very toxic, with exposure causing lung damage at levels of 60 parts per million, according to Health Canada, while levels of 1,000 ppm can be fatal.
Staff at the leisure centre contacted the Maple Ridge Fire Department and evacuated the building Saturday, allowing patrons to obtain their personal belongings.
The entire facility, including the pool, fitness centre and youth centre was cleared within 10 minutes, according to Armstrong, and patrons were given free passes for a return visit.
The fire department, working with pool staff, shut down the chlorination system, and stayed on site until the gas levels in the chlorine room reached zero.
The pool reopened Saturday, but a second chlorine alarm went off Sunday night, forcing staff to close the pool early.
A repair technician confirmed on Tuesday there was a small leak in the chlorine service conduit.
Manual water testing and chlorination will be used until the main system is repaired. However, Armstrong had no idea when that would be.
Staff closed the pool to public swimming, but regularly scheduled swimming lessons were allowed to continue. The pool was reopened to the public Tuesday afternoon.
“At no time did the gas get into any public areas,” said Armstrong. “At no time was there any health risk to patrons, first responders or district staff due to the fast implementation of all safety procedures and protocols.”