PLEASANT GROVE (ABC4 News) – City officials anticipate Veterans Memorial Pool will reopen Thursday at 1:30 p.m. following a chlorine spill that sent dozens of people to the hospital last week.
In a post on the Pleasant Grove City FaceBook page, city officials explained how the chlorine spill occurred.
“In a routine check of the chemical levels in the pool, it was determined that chlorine levels were low which prompted an assistant pool manager to check the filter on the recirculating water pump.– Pleasant Grove City FaceBook page
After checking the filter, the assistant manager noticed that the pump had been tripped due to an unknown cause. The assistant manager tried to restart the pump, but was unsuccessful.
During the time the water pump was off, a control panel that distributes chlorine into the pipe kept operating. This caused the chlorine to back up. When the pump was restarted, the water pushed the excess chlorine into the swimming pool area.”
The post said once the chlorine entered the swim area, it took a gaseous form and affected numerous people in a section of the pool. Those affected were evaluated at the scene with 26 who were transported to the hospital.
“All of a sudden, we heard some whistles and assumed it was something else,” said parent Amanda Burnett. “Then I saw 20 to 30 kids just coughing and there’s bubbles coming out of their mouths.”
One of the individuals transported was Burnett’s 6-year-old son, who was celebrating his birthday at the pool with his family.
“It wasn’t until probably 10 minutes of sitting there waiting with my son that he started to get super lethargic,” she said. “He started to kind of bob his head a little bit, not wanting to hold his weight up.”
Burnett said her son has respiratory issues and had low oxygen levels as he was being transported to the hospital. He was hospitalized for approximately 24 hours in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) before going home, but still experiences symptoms now.
“He still complains over stomach aches. When he was in the PICU, they said they were a little concerned that he might have drank some of the water,” said Burnett.
City officials said in the post that they have purchased and will install a new control box for the distribution of chlorine.
“This new box has built-in safeguards to prevent this from happening again. With the new control panel, if the pump were to lose power, it would stop the chlorine from continuing to be pumped into the pipe. This would prevent large amounts of chlorine backing up and being introduced into the system once the water pump starts up again,” the post said.
Utah County Health Department officials said they are working closely with the city to ensure pool equipment continues to be in compliance with state and county regulations. Once they conduct one final inspection and give clearance, the pool will reopen.
Burnett said her family has accrued medical bills from her son’s hospital stay, but city officials encourage those affected to file a claim for reimbursement from their insurance at their city offices.
“I think the city is doing an awesome job. Honestly, it was a freak accident. I think this will be the safest pool to go to now because this happened and they are taking every precaution necessary so it doesn’t happen again,” said Burnett.
Stay up to date with the pool’s opening by following the city’s Facebook page here.