The Columbia Shuswap Regional District board voted to replace the ice chilling system at the Sicamous arena after trace amounts of ammonia were detected in the brine during spring maintenance. (File Photo)

The Columbia Shuswap Regional District board voted to replace the ice chilling system at the Sicamous arena after trace amounts of ammonia were detected in the brine during spring maintenance. (File Photo)

Small ammonia leak in Sicamous arena ice chiller prompts emergency purchase, replacement

At no time was there a health risk to workers or public says Columbia Shuswap Regional District

The Columbia Shuswap Regional District board voted to replace the Sicamous arena’s ice chilling system after trace amounts of ammonia were discovered in the system’s brine solution.

According to the CSRD, the leak was detected during routine maintenance at the Sicamous District and Recreation Centre this spring, and at no time was there a health risk to workers or the public.

“Refrigeration contractors were unable to isolate the location of the leak within the tube chiller, therefore, an option to repair the existing chiller was deemed impossible,” reads a Thursday, June 24 media release from the CSRD.

At its June 17 meeting, the board voted unanimously to pay up to $250,000 for the emergency purchase of a new plate-and-frame ice chiller, with the intent of having the facility operational come fall.

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Read more: Sicamous arena treating for ammonia

The CSRD said delivery of the new chiller is expected in three to five weeks, with installation requiring up to two weeks. At that time, ice would need to be installed at the facility. The money will come from a capital reserve fund. CSRD staff noted this will leave little cash for future needs.

“I think this is the best step forward,” commented Electoral Area E director Rhona Martin. “If we can salvage some of the summer ice, that would be fantastic.”

The rec centre is owned by the CSRD and managed by Nustadia Recreation Inc, which took over arena operations on contract with the regional district on June 14.

The CSRD will provide more information on the Sicamous arena as it becomes available.

A similar situation occurred in 2016 when trace amounts ammonia were found in the brine. The leak was contained within the brine lines and at no time did ammonia leak into the air.

In January 2018, arena staff and local emergency responders undertook a day-long ammonia leak training exercise at the facility, prompted by the leak that occurred in Oct. 2017 at the Fernie Memorial Arena which resulted in the death of three men.


lachlan@saobserver.net
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ammoniaColumbia Shuswap Regional District