SIOUX FALLS, SD -
The carbon monoxide problem at the Sioux Falls Ice and Rec Center is fixed.
Back in May more than a dozen youth hockey players got sick during a hockey practice.
Four of the players went to the emergency room with extremely high levels of carbon monoxide in their system.
Carbon monoxide levels are caused by the exhaust from the Zamboni driving around the ice to smooth it out. The problem back in May happened because there was a problem with the carburetor emitting more carbon monoxide than it was supposed to, and the staff members at the facility weren't running the ventilation system like they were supposed to.
"Any time someone is ill because of the conditions at a facility we take that seriously," Sioux Falls Parks and Rec Assistant Director Dave Fischer said.
The Sioux Falls Parks and Rec Department teamed with the Sioux Falls Health Department and Sioux Falls Fire Rescue to find a solution this summer.
Now, the city is installing an automated system to make sure the fans turn on every time a certain level of carbon monoxide is detected above the ice.
"We wanted one that was going to take the human element out of it, so that when it reached a certain level that the system was automatically kicked on. It cannot be overridden or turned off until the carbon monoxide levels are back within acceptable levels," Fischer said.
They will also check the emission system on the Zamboni every month to make sure it isn't releasing more carbon monoxide into the air than it's supposed to.
The Sioux Falls Parks and Rec department wants to ensure families that they won't have another replay of the same problem when athletes take the ice again this fall.
"We've done everything we can think of to do in order to ensure that this is a safe facility and that will continue to be a priority for us. We're going to be watching it very closely as the season starts," Fischer said.
Officials will spend the weeks leading up to the opening of the Sioux Falls Ice and Rec Center testing the new system and testing the air levels to make sure it's working properly.
Management will also bring in an outside consultant this year to test the levels while the fans are running.
The cost of the new system is $6,700.
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