UPDATE: Wayland Pool Reopens Following State Inspection

The pool reopened Monday afternoon.

UPDATED, 4:20 p.m.

The Wayland Community Pool reopened this afternoon following an inspection by state officials.

Following a hazardous materials situation on Sunday, officials from the Wayland Community Pool, Wayland Fire Department, Wayland Board of Health joined state officials in approving the pool to reopen.

Original Story:

The remained closed Monday as pool management awaits an inspection by state officials following a resolved hazardous materials (HAZMAT) accident Sunday.

Pool director Matt DeChane said Wayland fire officials and Wayland Board of Health officials cleared the pool to reopen by late morning on Monday, but state officials must give approval before swimmers will be allowed to jump in.

DeChane said the state inspection is expected to occur Monday afternoon, and he hopes to reopen the pool at that point. Still, he recommended potential visitors check the pool's website before making the trip.

On Sunday morning at 9:40 a.m., Chief Vinnie Smith was monitoring the fire department radios when he heard a report about a . In a press release, Smith said he was nearby and was therefore first on the scene.

The chief arrived to find two pool employees and a representative of the pool's management staff outside after what was determined to be an accidental mixing of muriatic acid and chlorine, a mixture that can produce dangerous chlorine gas.

Smith's press release said that the chemicals are released safely into the pool on a regular basis, but that a dangerous situation had been created when an employee mistakenly poured several gallons of chlorine into a drum of muriatic acid in the basement of the pool building.

Wayland Fire Capt. Bob Dorey served as the incident commander and directed local firefighters as they secured entrance to the building and ventilated the basement so a dangerous build-up of chlorine gas did not occur.

"Normal fire department protective gear is not 100 percent effective in dealing with chlorine gas and much less than adequate in dealing with a liquid mixture of chlorine and muriatic acid," the press release states. For that reason, the state HAZMAT team was contacted.

Emergency officials first considered mitigating the situation by ventilating the basement while allowing the chemical reaction to run its course, but decided instead to "increase the rate of the existing discharge pump so that the mixture of chemicals was pumped into the 300,000 gallon pool at a faster rate where it would safely dissolve in the huge amount of water."

After several hours of monitoring the air quality, a second team of responders reentered the building to set up a second pump to more quickly discharge the chemical mixture into the pool.

According to the fire department press release, the public was never in danger from the gas and none of the employees or emergency responders was injured. The employee who mixed the chemicals was later checked out at Newton Wellesley Hospital, the press release states, but was released.

Pool staff began monitoring the pool's pH and chemical levels at about 1 p.m. Sunday, but will not reopen until after the inspections by the agencies mentioned above.

The incident lasted about 12 hours, with all personnel leaving the scene around 9 p.m. Sunday. During the peak of activity, the Wayland Fire Department had two command vehicles, the ambulance, two engines and some off duty personnel on site. A paramedic from Emerson Hospital also provided assistance. A representative from the state Department of Environmental Protection and the fire marshal's office were also on-hand for advisory purposes, and the provided traffic control and security.

"Although the incident lasted for almost 12 hours, good decisions by many, many people, and the luck of the incident happening on a Sunday without the public being inside the pool building at the time of the accident contributed to a successful conclusion to a very complex situation," Smith said in the press release. "I think it is important to mention that after the initial mishap, the pool staff acted appropriately in self-evacuating, calling for help and isolating the scene until the fire department arrived.

"The cooperation between the many agencies working together help[ed] assure a favorable outcome of an unusual and potentially very dangerous incident."


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