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Carbon Monoxide Levels At Ice Rink A Concern

May 18, 2011, 6:26 PM by Ben Dunsmoor

Carbon Monoxide Levels At Ice Rink A Concern
This week families of a few youth hockey players reported that they went to the hospital after practice at the Sioux Falls Ice and Recreation Center and found that they were exposed to carbon monoxide.

The players are fine now but Monday night they had headaches and blurry vision and tests indicated high levels of the odorless gas.

The manager of the Sioux Falls Ice and Recreation Center knows there are some levels of carbon monoxide hanging above the ice.

"When the Zamboni hits the ice there's your peak levels and then the fans come on and it just takes you right back down," Ice and Rec Center Manager Gary Weckwerth said.

Weckwerth managers the facility and is the CEO of the Sioux Falls Stampede hockey team. He says not only did he get reports of youth hockey players feeling sick Monday but two of his coaches also felt sick, but they never went to the hospital. He doesn't know why they got sick because he says nothing was different about their operations Monday.

"We went through the day to try and figure out was there something that we did different, and so we retraced every step, every minute of the day to see what might have been different and there was nothing," Weckwerth said.

Carbon monoxide levels inside an ice rink can be blamed on the emissions coming from a propane powered Zamboni.

Back in February KELOLAND News went inside the same facility with an expert to test the levels of carbon monoxide. The day after the Zamboni had been running the CO levels were 20 parts per million, when we tested it while the Zamboni was running the levels were 62 parts per million. OSHA standards say carbon monoxide levels should not exceed 50 parts per million for more than eight hours.

"The key there is how long they're in that environment, and how often, and what those health effects are going to be on them," Al Hallstrom of Aire Serv Heating & Air Conditioning said back in February while he was testing the air.

Weckwerth says when the rink shuts down this summer they will take a look at the fans in the building and see if they can cut down on the carbon monoxide levels.

"This is one of the things we've been talking about, are there different ways we could generate more fresh air in here when we're running the Zamboni," Weckwerth said.

One of the mothers who was at practice Monday night says at least four players were taken to the hospital and tested positive for carbon monoxide, but she says several other players didn't go to the hospital but showed signs of carbon monoxide sickness.

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