Chlorine season

Posted in War On Terror at 3:43 pm by George Smith

Summer means swimming pool and water feature recreation. Sanitary water requires the regulated circulation and injection of chlorine into water.

Things go wrong.

What usually happens is nothing too serious. Chlorine is immediately perceptible when in the air and people move away quickly unless they’re cut by a puff. Chlorine, a halogen, is immediately corrosive to mucous membranes, which means one feels it in the eyes and airway at once.

And this happened today in Michigan.

From the wire:

MUSKEGON COUNTY, MI – The Hazmat situation at Michigan’s Adventure on Friday, July 11 occurred near the lazy river, according to one of those affected.

The witness, who was in the lazy river at the time of the incident, said she “got a splash of chlorine” and started coughing while finding it difficult to breath. Other witnesses reported burning lips.

At least 25 people are being individually hosed down in the Michigan’s Adventure parking lot following the medical emergency …

It happens around the country, not infrequently, although it does not always make the front page of Google news.

From Maryland, a couple weeks ago:

HIGHLAND PARK (KDKA) – The Highland Park pool will reopen this afternoon, 24 hours after a chlorine leak forced the pool to close.

An issue with a chlorine canister Thursday caused a dangerous problem.

It happened around noon, before the pool was open for the day, workers were moving chlorine canisters when the top of one snapped off, causing a major leak.

The canisters are roughly 5 feet tall and hold about 100 pounds of liquid chlorine.

Decades ago, when I ran a community swimming pool, we had chlorine cylinders just like that.

They were robust. The delivery truck used to simply heave them off the back end onto macadam. It was not something I’d have recommended but they are made to take it. None ever burst or developed leaks, although the macadam of the lot took a beating.

However, once the protective shield comes off the top where a regulator is attacked, the copper fixture is more fragile. From time to time, leaks did develop.

And, in Ohio, the same week:

More than a dozen campers and staff at a Franklin Township day camp are recovering after they got poisoned by chlorine in an indoor pool Tuesday.

“We had several children who were coughing and vomiting,??? said Lt. Patrick Edwards of the Kent Fire Department. “We also had a couple of staff members who had the same symptoms.???

[A pool supervisor] said a camper accidentally hit the emergency shut off button for the pool pump. When staff restarted the pump, an excessive amount of chlorine shot into the pool while kids and staff were in it.

And this is exactly how many small exposures happen.

Chlorine is often added to the water through a bubbler in a pipe that carries inbound water from the filters to the swimming pool. If the water flow is interrupted and the chlorine is not simultaneously shut off, it builds up in the empty pipe.

When the water is turned back on it emerges as a bubble, or a puff, at the first outlet. If swimmers are around, they are exposed.

Usually, the results are not severe because the amount is never substantial enough. However, it can still result in a great deal of irritation to the eyes and throat, sometimes requiring a check by medical personnel.

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