H2O Xtream aquatic centre reopened—without slides

Published on 02 April 2021

H2O-wave-pool Upper Hutt

The H2O Xtream community pool facility reopened at 10.00 am this morning after an incident yesterday caused it to close early. The slides will remain closed while we undertake a full investigation.

“We deeply regret this incident,” says Council Director of Community Services, Mike Ryan. “Our thoughts are with the children and their families who were affected by it yesterday afternoon.”

The incident did not include a chemical spill or leak.

The slides had been closed at 12.00 pm because of a chlorine FAC reading in the water of 4 ppm (this is still within the New Zealand standard maximum of 7 ppm). They were then reopened at 1.00 pm once the reading had returned to 2.9 ppm. Within 5 – 10 minutes of opening the slides, a child felt unwell at the bottom of the slide and a number of other children (10 – 15) showed various symptoms of discomfort to eyes and breathing. The slides were closed, first aid administered, and an ambulance called at same time.

The building was cleared as a precaution for a period of time after emergency services arrived yesterday to allow them to carry out their investigations and to minimise any further risk to customers and staff.

The air quality reading the fire department took at the facility compared closely with that of another pool complex in the region.

As chlorine destroys organic matter in water it produces chloramines which in a poorly ventilated area can irritate eyes and breathing.

Worksafe have identified the most likely cause as the lack of ventilation in the slide area being a contributing factor, along with heavy use of the slides at the time. This requires further investigation so we can take appropriate remedial action to ensure an incident like this does not happen again.