Ammonia Leak Closes Rec Center for 2 Days

A worker maintains the ice rink at the Brentwood Recreation Complex on Sept. 5, the day the facility reopened after a $7.3 renovation.
A worker maintains the ice rink at the Brentwood Recreation Complex on Sept. 5, the day the facility reopened after a $7.2 renovation. The ammonia leak occurred 10 days later. (Photo by Steve Bowman)

8 treated at hospitals; reopening is noon Thursday

 
By Steve Bowman
Editor, The Brentwood Spirit
Email: bowmansj@sbcglobal.net

The Brentwood Recreation Complex was closed to the public all day Wednesday after an ammonia leak in the ice rink’s new cooling system sent eight people to the hospital on Tuesday. The complex is scheduled to reopen at noon Thursday, Sept. 17.

Four construction workers, three firefighters and a Brentwood city employee were treated at two area hospitals and released the same day. One of the construction workers was treated for ammonia burns. None of the injuries was life-threatening.

Only a few cars are in the parking lot of the Brentwood Recreation Complex on Wednesday afternoon. The facility is closed for repairs to the ice rink until Thursday, Sept. 17. (Photo by Steve Bowman)
Only a few cars are in the parking lot of the Brentwood Recreation Complex on Wednesday afternoon. The facility is closed for repairs to the ice rink until Thursday, Sept. 17. (Photo by Steve Bowman)

According to a press release from the city, the leak was discovered at about 11 a.m. Tuesday after a 3/8-inch line to an ammonia tank broke. Present in the building at the time of the leak were six municipal employees, 10 to 12 contractors and six patrons. A hazmat team from the St. Louis Fire Department arrived and found the leak “confined to one room, which was designed to contain any leak.”

Firefighters and paramedics from nine municipalities responded to the call. Authorities said the leak was contained by 1 p.m. Tuesday.

This sign is on the front doors to the ice rink and the recreation center. (Photo by Steve Bowman)
This sign is on the front doors to both the ice rink and the recreation center. (Photo by Steve Bowman)

Ammonia pipes under ice

An employee at the facility told The Brentwood Spirit that ammonia runs through pipes under the ice to keep it frozen. The employee said that when the refrigeration system was shut down after the leak was discovered, the ice began to melt, as expected. After the leak was repaired the system was turned back on and workers set about getting the rink surface back to normal.

The city posted the following on its website on Tuesday evening: “Due to ongoing repairs, all activities scheduled until noon on Thursday, September 17 have been postponed. The City will reschedule and/or refund participants for the postponed activities.”

The ice rink was closed all summer for a $7.2 million renovation, which included a new ammonia-based cooling system. The leak occurred 10 days after the facility held its Sept. 5 grand reopening.

The entrance to the community center. (Photo by Steve Bowman)
The entrance to the community center. (Photo by Steve Bowman)
Youth hockey leagues use the ice rink on Sept. 5, the day of the grand reopening.
Youth hockey leagues use the ice rink on Sept. 5, the day of the grand reopening. The ammonia leak occurred 10 days later. (Photo by Steve Bowman)

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