Wakaw arena temporarily closed due to excessive carbon monoxide

Town of Wakaw photo. The Wakaw Arena has been temporarily closed.

Nicole Goldsworthy, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, SASKTODAY.ca

The Wakaw Arena has been closed temporarily due to concerns over possible carbon monoxide poisoning

The Saskatchewan Health Authority (SHA) Environmental Health was notified about the concerns on Nov. 14.

Children at a hockey tournament in Wakaw had symptoms of headaches, lightheadedness, nauseous with some kids experiencing vomiting on the benches, Shaun Fleming, one of the parents at the tournament, told CTV.

“Thankfully the Town of Wakaw understands all the players are feeling better,” the town said in a statement. “The Town of Wakaw takes the safety seriously and immediately closed the arena following these reports.”

Wakaw Mayor Michael Markowski said SaskEnergy was called in the following day to investigate after the town became aware of the player’s symptoms.

The Medical Health Officer for the area requested SHA Environmental Health conduct air quality tests at the arena. Testing was done on Nov. 15. Results from the testing had carbon monoxide levels measured above 25 parts per million (ppm). To protect everyone in an arena and especially people exercising on the ice the average carbon monoxide level is not to exceed 25 ppm as recommended by Health Canada.

The town said initial investigation pointed to the furnace as the cause.

“The furnace has been shut off and not been used since that time. The furnace is scheduled to be replaced next week.”

A later investigation by the SHA identified the ice resurfacing machine as a source of the elevated levels of carbon monoxide.

“The arena will remain closed until the [ice resurfacing machine] is repaired. Parts are on order and the Town of Wakaw anticipates that the zamboni will be repaired next week,” the town said in a statement posted Nov. 17. “After that is completed, the Saskatchewan Health Authority will determine that the carbon monoxide levels have been regulated and the arena will be reopened.”