Maplewood Pool Fiasco this Weekend

So there was a significant mechanical malfunction at the town pool this weekend.  Several people, including kids, smelled and inhaled chlorine and several kids were taken to doctors/the emergency room because they were quite sick.

Of course the Town completely botched it from a PR standpoint. Melissa Mancuso posted on Facebook and said there was no chemical leak and then the Town put out a statement declaring there was no chemical leak.

Fast forward to Sunday (today) and the Town put out another statement that says they know what happened and why it happened but they won't actually tell us what happened.

The way the Town has handled this is extremely disappointing.

https://patch.com/new-jersey/maplewood/kids-sickened-green-plume-maplewood-pool-report

MAPLEWOOD, NJ — Some parents had to take their kids to area emergency rooms after a "green-brown plume" was apparently released into the Maplewood pool Saturday afternoon, Village Green reported Saturday.

"Parents said that the trouble began when a green-brown plume was released from the pool filter near the ramp of the main pool at around 12:45 p.m," the story says. "They reported a strong odor of chlorine."

Parents of several young children told the outlet their kids experienced symptoms including breathing problems, lethargy, and vomiting after leaving the pool.




https://villagegreennj.com/towns/maplewood/maplewood-township-releases-updated-statement-on-pool-incident-that-sickened-children/

"This email serves as a follow up regarding the event which occurred yesterday afternoon at our township pool.

As previously communicated, a malfunction occurred yesterday afternoon at the pool resulting in a sediment release. This malfunction was within the filtration system and it is being monitored on a regular basis. As a result some experienced a sudden smell of chlorine as the filter was restarted. We deeply apologize that this malfunction occurred and we are working with a third-party vendor, CFM, on testing and a retrospective evaluation regarding yesterday’s malfunction.

In addition, our health officer has contacted the families impacted by the malfunction and we will work with them.

This morning we conducted 2 more pool chemistry level tests, our standard operating tests/evaluation as well as additional tests by the 3rd party to ensure that our pool is within the normal limits. These tests came back with readings that communicated that the pool chemistry is within normal limits.

We have worked closely with a third party contractor and have specifically identified what occurred and we know why it occurred. Furthermore, we have taken all the necessary steps to fix the problem and we have been assured that based on the contractors actions and our follow up procedures this will not happen again.

As a result the pool will be open today and we will increase the number of our daily standard tests and monitoring to ensure the safety of all residents and patrons.

Again we apologize that this malfunction occurred yesterday."

If you have any questions please contact us at twpadmin@twp.maplewood.nj.us


https://villagegreennj.com/towns/maplewood/parents-report-children-sickened-at-maplewood-pool-today/

Numerous parents have reported that their children became ill on Saturday, July 17, after a greenish, brownish plume appeared in the main pool at the Maplewood Community Pool complex accompanied by a strong odor of chlorine, with several reporting that they had taken their children to area urgent care centers and hospital emergency rooms with trouble breathing, vomiting, blue lips, lethargy and coughing. At least one child was admitted to the hospital overnight.

Parents reported the illnesses on the SOMA Lounge Facebook group, as well as by contacting Village Green via email, FB messenger and text.

Parents said that the trouble began just before a green-brown plume was released from the pool filter near the ramp of the main pool at around 12:45 p.m. They reported a strong odor of chlorine. (One parent reported smelling a strong chlorine odor closer to noon.)


Could be they shocked the water with too much chlorine, and it released the rust and algae inside the pump and metal parts of the system. 


Not according to any of the articles.


So, on Saturday the Township didn't know what caused it, but said it wasn't a chemical leak.

By Sunday, they knew the cause and remedied it, and the pool reopened.

It's bad that something went wrong with the pool's systems, but is it a "fiasco" or a problem that they addressed?


nohero said:

It's bad that something went wrong with the pool's systems, but is it a "fiasco" or a problem that they addressed?

The unresolved question for this reader is the apparent mismatch between the pool’s explanation — release of sediment followed by a whiff of chlorine as the filter restarted — and the severity of the children’s reported symptoms plus witness accounts of the timing and strength of the chlorine smell.


One problem was that the pool communication did not align with the experience. My teen was there (but not near the pools) at the time, and came home indicating that he heard kids were vomiting blood and ambulances were called. [ETA Note: It appears he heard an exaggeration - as there are reports of vomiting, but not of blood]

For the pool to then indicate in a statement that nothing bad happened, rather than indicate that they were investigating the problem but didn't yet have an answer, was a non-trivial mistake that likely increased anger and distrust.


DaveSchmidt said:

nohero said:

It's bad that something went wrong with the pool's systems, but is it a "fiasco" or a problem that they addressed?

The unresolved question for this reader is the apparent mismatch between the pool’s explanation — release of sediment followed by a whiff of chlorine as the filter restarted — and the severity of the children’s reported symptoms plus witness accounts of the timing and strength of the chlorine smell.

 You're right. I hope they're having a professional today analyze what was in the sediment.


sprout said:

One problem was that the pool communication did not align with the experience. My teen was there (but not near the pools) at the time, and came home indicating that he heard kids were vomiting blood and ambulances were called. 

For the pool to then indicate in a statement that nothing bad happened, rather than indicate that they were investigating the problem but didn't yet have an answer, was a non-trivial mistake that likely increased anger and distrust.

 Not one person has reported their children vomiting blood.  Even the parents who had their children in emergency rooms.  Clearly Maplewood mishandled the communication about this, but frankly repeating what a teen heard as fact is a reach.


FilmCarp said:

Not according to any of the articles.

 That’s because the people that run the pool didn’t say exactly what caused the problem. I’m going on the reports of a green/ brownish plume in the water after a strong smell of chlorine. Because I have seen what too much chlorine can do to the filter. Let’s see what they eventually say.


FilmCarp said:

sprout said:

One problem was that the pool communication did not align with the experience. My teen was there (but not near the pools) at the time, and came home indicating that he heard kids were vomiting blood and ambulances were called. 

For the pool to then indicate in a statement that nothing bad happened, rather than indicate that they were investigating the problem but didn't yet have an answer, was a non-trivial mistake that likely increased anger and distrust.

 Not one person has reported their children vomiting blood.  Even the parents who had their children in emergency rooms.  Clearly Maplewood mishandled the communication about this, but frankly repeating what a teen heard as fact is a reach.

I purposely included that he was 'not near the pools' (FWIW: he was near the entrance), and 'heard' as, yes, it may be teen embellishment, or misinterpretation of a kid's reddish-colored meal (so NOT intended as 'fact'). 

The intended point is that people at the pool were aware multiple kids experienced physical reactions. The initial communication that came from the pool appears to discount this experience.


Kids did vomit. This has been reported by parents and the Village Green. Vomiting "blood" has not been printed or reported anywhere.


From the Village Green article:

Kirkwood said his five-year-old son “vomited at the pool right after he got out and has been lethargic. Took his first nap in 2 years. Our pediatrician advised us to call 911 if he had genuine trouble breathing but he got a little better so we’ve just been monitoring him.”

__________

One mother wrote on SOMA Lounge, “My kids are in the hospital. Can’t breath well. One is throwing up. Don’t tell us that wasn’t chemical? Please tell us what it is, so we can tell the [doctors].”

__________

Another father posted, “My son is at the hospital. He threw up several times and is now on oxygen. How can you say there was no chemical spill? What was that brown liquid my kids drank?”


Exactly. Not one person reported vomiting blood.  This situation isn't good, but there is no need to spread inaccurate exaggerations.  The town blew it completely, and lost a lot of credibility.  


I have added a note to my initial post that it appears to be an exaggeration (thank goodness).


The latest explanation on FB seems to fit the facts and would explain the strong smell of chlorine.  It sure seems like there was enough chlorine gas released to cause lung irritation.  If you have ever accidentally mixed bleach and ammonia based cleaners, you will know that it doesn't take much chlorine gas to cause irritation.


I don't have FB (and I looked at the pool's FB site, and nothing seems to have been posted in weeks). What was the latest explanation?


Maplewood Community Pool Update 7.19.2021
Dear Maplewood Pool Members:

This e-mail serves as a follow up regarding the event which occurred at our Township pool this past Saturday. As previously communicated, a malfunction occurred resulting in a sediment release, sudden smell and liquid chlorine discharge. Chlorine is typically used to sanitize the pool to prevent bacterial growth. As mentioned we have been working with our third-party contractor, CFM, to identify and resolve the cause of the malfunction. All of our Township professionals and our Health Officer have been actively involved in monitoring this situation to ensure the safety of our residents and pool members.

We previously mentioned that there was a malfunction in the pools filtration system. More specifically, with the automatic level controller which controls the amount of water in the pool. This malfunction reduced the volume of water available for the filtration system and caused the recirculation pump to draw in air and shut down. While this was occurring another feed pump continued to operate pumping chlorine into the piping system. When the water level reached the proper elevation the filtration system restarted and the initial rush of filtered water into the pool caused liquid chlorine, at levels higher than normal, to enter the pool. This confluence of events caused some members to experience various medical symptoms.

Once this occurred we immediately diagnosed the issue and took corrective steps to address it and ensure it would not occur again. In the meantime, the automatic level controller is being bypassed and the water level in the pool is being continuously monitored and maintained by certified pool staff. Additionally, the filtration system and chemical control systems are being continuously monitored by staff on an hourly basis. At all times prior to the incident the chemistry level tests resulted in readings that were within normal limits and these readings continued after the incident.

We understand your concern and appreciate your patience in this matter. The safety of our residents and pool members is our primary concern and we would do nothing to compromise that. Pool staff as well as CFM have been diligent in continual testing and ensuring health and safety standards for water quality. Furthermore, processes for enhanced monitoring of the mechanics of the pool are being put in place to assure that the pool is safe and operable. We look forward to your continued participation


If they "immediately diagnosed the issue" why couldn't they publish this explanation on Saturday?
It would have saved them a lot of grief and damage control.


yahooyahoo said:

If they "immediately diagnosed the issue" why couldn't they publish this explanation on Saturday?
It would have saved them a lot of grief and damage control.

 I hope that they are hashing that out right now.  




In order to add a comment – you must Join this community – Click here to do so.