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State proposes fines over Indy pool that sent 71 to hospital

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The state has proposed $14,250 in fines against Indianapolis after inspectors found six violations at a city-run pool where chemical exposure and fumes sent dozens of people to the hospital in June.

In a Nov. 1 noticed released publicly Thursday, the Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration lists six “serious” violations against Indy Parks and Recreation, which manages the Garfield Family Aquatic Center.

On June 21, an estimated 71 pool visitors and employees went to the hospital after over-exposure to toxic chemicals.

A separate investigation that Indy Parks conducted revealed that a chlorine-based chemical was continuously pumped for more than four hours into the two pools’ water system. Toward the end of the chlorination spree, the chemicals mixed with acid that was injected into the system.

A chemical reaction created a gas that leaked from pipes and harmed employees in the enclosed mechanical area.

The hazardous mixture then worked its way into the swimmer-filled pools, according to Indy Parks.

"The safety of guests at Indy Parks is always our top priority," said Indy Parks Deputy Director Jen Pittman in a prepared statement. "Indy Parks and Recreation is working with IOSHA to fully remedy these issues and is confident the fines will be eliminated once that process is complete. In addition to addressing the orders at Garfield Park, Indy Parks and Recreation also plans to evaluate all of the city’s aquatic centers and take corrective action as necessary before the facilities reopen next spring.”

IOSHA classified each of the six violations against the city department as “serious” after inspections ended in August.

The steepest individual fines that IOSHA has proposed are for $4,500.

Documents state the pools’ mechanical room did not have proper safety devices to keep chemicals safely balanced. The pool’s circulation system also had inadequate tubing that leaked and sprayed chemicals, which exposed employees to the hazard.

IOSHA proposed another $4,500 after finding electrical pumps in wet areas that were not properly grounded.

The remaining $5,250 in violations included:

— out-of-shape chemical-handling gloves with an unknown residue on them;

— inadequate emergency chemical-wash equipment for pool staff;

— an exposed electrical junction box;

— a broken cover for an electrical outlet marked “Acid Pumps Only."

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  • BS FINES
    GREAT! So the state, one tax funded government entity, is going to fine another tax funded government entity for an accident at a partially taxpayer funded pool where many underprivelaged children spend their summer and stay out of trouble. Sounds like the taxpayer is going to be taxed again! OUR GOVERNMENT IS OUT OF CONTROL!!!

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  1. The east side does have potential...and I have always thought Washington Scare should become an outlet mall. Anyone remember how popular Eastgate was? Well, Indy has no outlet malls, we have to go to Edinburgh for the deep discounts and I don't understand why. Jim is right. We need a few good eastsiders interested in actually making some noise and trying to change the commerce, culture and stereotypes of the East side. Irvington is very progressive and making great strides, why can't the far east side ride on their coat tails to make some changes?

  2. Boston.com has an article from 2010 where they talk about how Interactions moved to Massachusetts in the year prior. http://www.boston.com/business/technology/innoeco/2010/07/interactions_banks_63_million.html The article includes a link back to that Inside Indiana Business press release I linked to earlier, snarkily noting, "Guess this 2006 plan to create 200-plus new jobs in Indiana didn't exactly work out."

  3. I live on the east side and I have read all your comments. a local paper just did an article on Washington square mall with just as many comments and concerns. I am not sure if they are still around, but there was an east side coalition with good intentions to do good things on the east side. And there is a facebook post that called my eastside indy with many old members of the eastside who voice concerns about the east side of the city. We need to come together and not just complain and moan, but come up with actual concrete solutions, because what Dal said is very very true- the eastside could be a goldmine in the right hands. But if anyone is going damn, and change things, it is us eastside residents

  4. Please go back re-read your economics text book and the fine print on the February 2014 CBO report. A minimum wage increase has never resulted in a net job loss...

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