Human management

Pool management supervisor talks pool maintenance after chemical incident in Chesterfield

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WWBT) — A chilling situation unfolded at a neighborhood pool in Chesterfield County on Wednesday.

A chemical leak led to a hazardous materials emergency, with nearly 40 people requiring treatment at the scene and in hospital.

The incident happened just after 11am at Harpers Mill swimming pool near Otterdale Road.

Dozens of people have fallen ill while swimming in the pool due to an unknown chemical problem.

According to Fire and EMS, all patients, 15 children and 1 adult are expected to be fine, and the majority of them were discharged from hospital on Wednesday evening.

“They complained of being nauseous. There was coughing, breathing issues,” Chesterfield Fire Lt. Kenny Mitchell said. “But the word non-lethal is always good to hear for everyone involved.”

According to the CDCafter exposure to dangerous levels of chlorine, people may experience nausea, coughing, shortness of breath, chest tightness and other symptoms.

No one could confirm that the chemical in question at the pool was indeed chlorine.

“We train our rescuers to do the basic chemicals. We leave the toughest chemical testing and everything to our senior managers who like to specialize in pool chemicals and pool pumps,” said Siena Barnes, Swim Club Management Area Supervisor.

Although the Swim Club does not operate the Harpers Mill pool, Barnes provided insight as someone familiar with these chemicals and pool systems.

“Lifeguards usually focus on chlorine and PH and then you have like your other chemicals where we go in and test them, you know, every day once a week,” she said.

swimming subwaythe company that treats the pool in question told NBC12 that the chemicals they typically use are sodium hypochlorite and acid for PH control.

These chemicals are automatically introduced into the pool by a machine. Barnes says that sometimes pools can have problems with the chlorine pump depending on the age of the pool. But she says to look for the sign outside the lifeguards office for daily chemical levels.

“Whenever you enter a pool deck, look for this sign. Your chlorine, you want between one and three and your PH in general. And when you see that sign and look at it, you know you’re in safe, well-supervised swimming water.

NBC12 contacted swimming subwaythe pool company that handles this community pool.

NBC12 has yet to receive an update, but earlier today crews said they would evaluate the pool’s automatic pump system to ensure something like this never happens again.

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