With the city on notice that it’s time for a WorksafeBC inspection of the Trail pool’s “chlorine delivery system,” council shuffled $145,000 from one maintenance pot to another this week.
Three safety recommendations regarding chlorine gas, in particular, are still outstanding following an Interior Health risk assessment conducted at the Trail Aquatic Centre in 2014.
“Interior Health identified that the work ‘should’ be performed ‘as budgets allow,’ so these items were deemed a moderate priority by the recreation department,” Deputy Director Robert Baker advised council. “In 2018, it was learned that Occupational Health and Safety Regulations require the ventilation and automatic shutoff systems to be in place to be compliant, which elevates their priority level to high,” he clarified.
“WorkSafeBC has provided notice that it will be inspecting pools in the near future which utilize chlorine gas, and so it would be prudent for the city to expedite the required work.”
With the pool shut down for annual maintenance until Sept. 10, now is a good time to complete the job.
Work includes increasing the height of the chlorine emergency ventilation stack on the roof, installation of panic hardware on the exit door, and adding an automatic shutoff system on the chlorine cylinder so staff does not need to enter the room to isolate the gas cylinder.
The total budget includes the cost of construction, estimated at $120,000 by a local mechanical contractor, in addition to the engineering design and a 15 per cent contingency.
Funding for pool upgrades came from a $220,000 allotment Trail council set aside to replace the arena’s chiller this year.
Engineering work for that leg of work is now underway with the project expected to be tendered in the fall and awarded in early-December.
Approximately $200,000 from the chiller replacement project will not be spent this year, so the money was re-directed into chlorine system improvements at Baker’s request.
“The issue of chlorine gas and safety surely follows the concerns that came up last year when the Fernie arena incident occurred,” Chief Administrative Officer David Perehudoff explained, referring to three deaths caused by ammonia gas leaked from a failed chiller.
“And there was an intense review of all arenas in B.C. that use ammonia to assist with the ice-making process.”
Like the Fernie ice rink, ammonia is used as a refrigerant in the Trail arena.
WorksafeBC inspected the Trail Memorial Centre arena earlier this year then authorized the city to operate for the 2018/19 ice season. Notably, the chiller replacement work must proceed in 2019.
“As the director indicates, this frees up capital money to address the chlorine issues at the Trail Aquatic and Leisure Centre that have now become a high priority.”
The chiller replacement will proceed as a high priority in next year’s budget, Perehudoff continued.
“The city would then be in position to see the work associated with replacing the chiller to be completed in the next offseason window,” he said. “Staff is anticipating that the costs to replace the chiller could be double that of which was originally budgeted based on what other arenas in the local area are currently experiencing, as they were required to address their aging ice plants more directly.”