Excess chlorine caused sickness at Calypso water park

Excess amounts of chlorine at Calypso Theme Waterpark in Limoges, Ont., caused 14 children to get sick yesterday, according to the company.

The Eastern Ontario Health Unit is investigating the incident, which happened at about 1:30 p.m. at the park, which is about 45 kilometres southeast of Ottawa.

Paramedics took 13 children to the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario, while one child was assessed at the park and released to a parent.

The children, who range from four to 14 years old, had problems breathing and three of them suffered from symptoms of nausea, vomiting and airway irritation.

Paramedics said people reported a strong odour of chlorine in the pool, but park officials had said Tuesday that chlorine was not the cause of any illness.

But on Wednesday, the company said chlorine was indeed the cause.

Just after 1 p.m., a water testing technician at the water park added 25 kilograms of 60-per-cent concentrated chlorine into the pool. An air leak was noted and the technician notified the workers responsible for fixing it.

At 1:10 p.m. the filtration system was shut off by the workers while they retrieved a part and fixed the leak. Meanwhile, the chlorine pumps continued to dump chlorine into the pool.

Filtration was restarted 15 minutes later.

"Calypso Theme Waterpark team extends its deepest apologies for the incident that occurred in the early afternoon yesterday," a statement released Wednesday says.

"While this incident is regrettable, it had no serious effects on the health of those who were exposed, according to comments from CHEO Hospital. As of today, technicians have been given a new procedure to follow and must shut off all chlorine pumps whenever the filtration process is interrupted."