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Richmond pool staff complain about eye, throat irritation

City staff checked the air handling and mechanical systems and found them in good operating condition.
Some staff members at the Minoru Centre for Active Living complained about eye and throat irritation.

Staff at a Richmond city pool were complaining about health issues from the air quality, prompting the city to test out their systems.

Fluctuating chlorimines – gases that come from putting disinfectants in the pool – might have caused eye and throat irritations for some staff at the aquatic centre at Minoru Centre for Active Living.

After these complaints, the city tested the air quality, finding chlorimine fluctuations. No complaints, however, have come from the public, explained city spokesperson Clay Adams.

After receiving these staff complaints, city staff also looked at the air handling and mechanical systems but found them “exceeding operational requirements,” Adams explained.

This was followed by a thorough cleaning of the HVAC system.

Adams noted the water quality at MCAL is tested several times a day and is regularly tested by public health inspectors.

“It consistently meets all safety standards so, again, there is no risk to the public,” Adams said. “We would never place staff or the public in an environment that would compromise their health and well-being, and will continue to test and monitor the air quality in the facility."

Chloramines are the gases that result from products that are used to ensure safe water quality, and “often lead to what people assume to be the smell of chlorine or other odours,” Adams elaborated.

According to the American Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), chloramines are disinfectants that are used to treat drinking water. The EPA says water containing chloramines are safe for drinking, cooking, bathing and other household uses.