Two bizarre and completely unrelated incidents have led to the Horowhenua Aquatic Centre pool being evacuated twice in three weeks.

A chemical scare had staff clear the pool of 32 swimmers on Monday, with one swimmer taken to Palmerston North Hospital in what was initially described by emergency services as a serious condition.

The man, in his 40s, was discharged from hospital and was now at home in Levin.

Horowhenua District Council community facility and events manager Brent Harvey was playing golf in Kāpiti when he received a call on his mobile about the emergency.


Harvey immediately drove to Levin to be onsite. He said he had spoken to the wife of the man who was hospitalised and was assured he was home and recovering.

He said it was important to make clear to the public that both incidents were unrelated and had now been addressed and the pool was now safe for regular use.

Harvey said council and pool staff would now hold a series of meetings to address any issues and to ensure all measures were put in place to prevent any similar emergencies.

Earlier in the month the pool was cleared of 13 swimmers when a faulty sensor in the plant room caused an alarm activation that resulted in a full scale evacuation and emergency call-out.

The most recent evacuation on Monday occurred near a new hydrotherapy pool where one of two pumps had failed, which meant chlorine and a sodium bicarbonate were added to stagnant water and allowed to mix.

Immediately the problem was evident and the pool was cleared and closed. It was understood the offending pump, one of two near the hydrotherapy pool, had since been fixed.

Horowhenua District Council Group Manager Customer & Regulatory Services Ian McLachlan said pool staff were to be commended in both instances for their adoption of safety procedures.

"Staff evacuated the facility as soon as they were aware of the issue," he said.


Both incidents drew a heavy presence a fire and emergency services, including the HAZMAT (Hazardous Substances and New Organism Unit) from Palmerston North.

Homes nearby were told to keep their windows shut. Firefighters washed in special spray booths set up to remove the risk of any contamination residue.

An evacuation centre was set up at the Levin Fire Station 100m east of the pool centre where people were checked by medical staff before going home.

It was business as usual now though, with the popular pool open again the next day.