The Vernon Aquatic Centre will be closed for its annual three-week maintenance period from Aug. 26 to Sept. 16. (City of Vernon - photo)

Chlorine leak closes Vernon pool

18 swimmers evacuated, pool opens shortly after

The Vernon Recreation Centre was temporarily evacuated Wednesday morning, after the chlorine gas alarm was activated in the Vernon Aquatic Centre.

At approximately 7 a.m., a chlorine gas concentration of one part per million (the minimum threshold for an alarm) was detected in the airtight chlorine bottle room. The automated safety systems turned off the chlorine, triggered the alarm and dispatched Vernon Fire Rescue Services.

The lifeguards on duty followed established safety protocols and evacuated 18 swimmers from the centre as a precaution. Firefighters arrived on scene and determined that the automated safety systems had functioned as designed and there was no safety risk to staff or the public.

Maintenance staff have performed a preliminary investigation and have not yet determined the source of the leak. It is presumed that the leak is too small to be detected by conventional testing methods.

“This appears to have been a very small leak that built up overnight and reached our minimum alarm threshold this morning,” aquatics manager Gary Lefebvre said. “We have well-established protocols in place for these types of events and I am very proud of our lifeguarding staff this morning, who acted quickly and followed our procedures to ensure their safety and the safety of the public.”

Maintenance staff have tightened and tested all of the connections on the chlorine system and will continue to monitor it. Safety systems have been reset and the pool was reopened to the public at 8:30 a.m.

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