“The water at Northview is safe. Our trained staff responded immediately to make sure we had all the equipment operating correctly and to reduce the chlorine levels in the pool back down to normal,” said Eddie Eastes, Director of Manhattan Parks and Recreation. “The pool will re-open as staffing levels allow, and we will announce the opening to the public as soon as possible.”
CiCo and City Park pools are open.
After an investigation, a routine maintenance procedure on pump filters took longer than normal which contributed to the concentrated build-up of the chemicals. Chemical levels are monitored by an automated system and through City staff’s manual checks. Prior to the incident, City staff manually monitored the chemical levels at intervals consistent with industry standards. The automated monitoring is operating correctly, and City staff will perform additional manual monitoring to ensure a safe environment for Manhattan swimmers.
“We will continue to make sure we are providing a safe environment for our staff and our patrons at all of our pools,” Eastes said.
Swimming lessons originally scheduled for Thursday morning at Northview will take place Friday morning at the same scheduled times at City Park Pool. Scheduled rentals at Northview Pool will occur.
The City would like to recognize and thank all first responders in this incident including the all EMS personnel, Manhattan Fire Department, the Riley County Police Department, and the quick action of the trained lifeguards on staff at Northview Pool.
Updated 9 am. Thursday:
Northview Pool will remain closed today while Manhattan officials ensure city staff are healthy before they return to work.
Updated Thursday (from City of Manhattan):
At 2:10 p.m. Wednesday, the Manhattan Fire Department and Riley County Emergency Medical Service were dispatched to 510 Griffith Drive, Northview Pool, for a report of a chlorine release. Crews arrived on scene to find multiple individuals suffering from skin and inhalation burns. Crews quickly determined the release was contained and there was no further threat to the public. Eight pool staff members were in the pool at the time of the release and were transported by Riley County EMS to the hospital. Via Christi Hospital reported two additional walk-in patients. No members of the public are believed to be affected since they were not in the water at the time of the release. A total of 6 EMS vehicles with 12 personnel and 5 fire department vehicles with 17 personnel responded to the incident.
The owner of the pool is the City of Manhattan. Northview Pool experienced a lightning strike earlier this month that affected the chlorine controllers that release the chemical into the water. Equipment was replaced to maintain operation of the pool while permanent replacement parts are on order. That equipment did not perform as expected today, which caused the release, according to Manhattan Parks and Recreation Director Eddie Eastes.
Northview Pool will remain closed until further notice.
Updated 4 p.m Wednesday.:
KMAN’s Cathy Dawes speaks with Manhattan Parks and Recreation Community Relations Officer Melissa Kirkwood who indicates nine city employees were treated for chlorine exposure:
Updated 3:44 p.m.:
City of Manhattan officials indicate “Northview Pool will remain closed until further notice as we continue to investigate how a chemical exposure incident occurred today. As of now, the only injuries reported are those of pool staff, who were in the water during a heat break at the pool this afternoon. Those employees were taken to Via Christi Hospital for treatment. At this time, we don’t believe any members of the public were affected. There is no danger to the surrounding community.”
Multiple people have reportedly been exposed to chlorine at the Northview Pool Wednesday afternoon. MFD Asst. Fire chief Sam Dameron indicates eight people were taken to the hospital.
Manhattan Parks and Recreation Community Relations Officer Melissa Kirkwood confirmed the issue was caused by a “chemical related issue” but she did not further elaborate.
According to the Riley County Police Twitter page, the 500 block of Griffith Drive was closed for emergency services, though the department did state there was no danger to the surrounding community.
This story will be updated as further information is available.
KMAN’s complete interview with Asst. Fire Chief Dameron follows: