GBHU to test arena air quality in Kincardine, area


By Barb McKay

The air quality in Kincardine and area arenas will be scrutinized this winter.


Inspectors with the Grey Bruce Health Unit (GBHU) will be in arenas throughout the county over the next two months testing the air quality at peak usage times in over 30 arenas throughout the two counties.


According to GBHU program manager Bob Hart, the health unit had heard from other health units in the province that it is beneficial to sample air quality in arenas at high usage times to determine if there are any issues. Typically, the GBHU air quality is inspected at arenas once each year during regular working hours.


Hart said this is the first time the GBHU has tested arena air quality at peak times, when the ice is being resurfaced more frequently, and inspectors will compare results to those of the regular tests. He said, to the best of his knowledge, arenas in Kincardine, Tiverton and Ripley haven’t experienced problems with air quality related to emissions from ice resurfacing equipment and edging equipment.


Hart said emissions from Zambonis and other equipment regularly used in arenas can become a problem for people with respiratory conditions, as well elderly persons and individuals playing sports, particularly when the equipment isn’t properly maintained.


“People who are susceptible to respiratory conditions can suffer more severe effects,” he said.


If air quality in the arenas studied is found to have higher than acceptable levels of carbon monoxide, or nitrogen monoxide if arenas have diesel engines, measures need to be taken to correct the problem.


Municipalities may be required to upgrade ventilation or change practices for maintaining equipment.

“If levels are very severe or continue to be a problem, it may be possible to have to temporarily close an arena,” Hart said.


Most problems exist in facilities that still use diesel-powered equipment, Hart said, and few do these days.

“With the kind of equipment we have now and the kind of practices that are in place, there aren’t many problems,” he said.

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