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February 13, 2015

Gas Detection in Recreation Facilities: Can the same detector work for pools and arenas?

Written by: Rebecca Erickson

Swimming pools are commonly kept clean with a chlorine disinfectant, used either alone or with ozone. The chlorine gas feed and storage room requires continuous monitoring for chlorine leaks and ozone, if used. This is best accomplished by using a remote chlorine sensor and a remote ozone sensor inside the room, along with a remote visual and audible alarm mounted outside the room that will be enabled in the event of a leak of either gas. Outside each entry door, a controller with a visual display and an audible and visual alarm should be mounted so a worker entering the room can see the gas level readings prior to entry. Chlorine gas is heavier than air and tends to collect at floor level requiring the placement of the sensor to be 6 inches above the floor, close to the area of a potential leak but away from ventilation fans. If there is a chlorine leak, the controller must have relays to shut down the ventilation system until it is safe to exhaust the gas from the contaminated area. If there is an ozone leak, the controller must have outputs to activate the emergency air exhaust fans. Pure ozone is slightly heavier than air, but does not necessarily settle to the floor. The sensor should be placed beside the equipment and between the generator and the destructor. If additional reaction tanks or destructors are more than 16 ft (5m) away from the existing sensor, additional sensors are required. During routine maintenance such as when a worker changes chlorine cylinders, the potential for a leak is increased, making the use of a portable gas monitor with a chlorine sensor an additional and safe choice.

Arenas have a slightly more complicated set up because multiple gas hazards are present. Ammonia is commonly used in the mechanical refrigeration room and while it is used in liquid form, if a leak in the system were to occur, it would become a corrosive, toxic gas. Arenas utilizing an ammonia refrigeration system should have a transmitter with an ammonia gas sensor installed in the chiller room that will detect an ammonia leak and trigger the onset of an independent ventilation system, as well as a visual and audible alarm. Ammonia is lighter than air so sensors should be placed generally on or within 12 inches of the ceiling or the highest point of the enclosed area.

At the ice surface level, gasoline, propane, natural gas (and sometimes still used diesel) powered equipment such as an ice resurfacer and ice edger, produce exhaust composed of carbon monoxide and/or nitrogen dioxide. Other fuel powered equipment such as floor sweepers, lift trucks, vehicles idling in the parking facilities in close proximity and other special events equipment can also add to the levels of carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide. Hazardous gas buildup is greatly increased if the equipment is not functioning properly or the ventilation system is not adequate. A dual channel or two separate transmitters for CO and NO2 should be placed above the score keepers box or penalty box and additional air sampling readings can be taken at the level of the ice surface using an indoor air quality or portable multi-gas monitor. Poorly maintained equipment and/or general wear and tear can cause vibrations that could loosen fittings and potentially produce a raw propane leak in propane powered ice resurfacers. Propane is heavier than air and will sink to low lying areas. The parking area for the ice resurfacer should have a propane remote transmitter sensor (explosion proof is suggested) located in a low area of the room, preferably near the drain channel the ice resurfacer is parked over. The final piece, a multi-channel controller with an audible and visual alarm, ties the arena gas detection system together, providing a single point of access to view gas level readings and configure transmitter and sensor settings.



Ozone Safe Work Practices, 2006 ed. WorkSafe BC


Design and Construction of Chlorine Gas Rooms for Occupational Health and Safety and Public Health, March 2012. Saskatchewan Ministry of Health


Chlorine Safe Work Practices, 2002 ed. WorkSafe BC


Hazards of Ammonia in Ice Rinks. Newfoundland Labrador Government Services



For suggestions on gas detection systems, indoor air quality monitors and calibration, please visit



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