ST. LOUIS PARK, Minn. - The Minnesota Department of Health is updating air quality rules for state ice arenas. It's the first changes to the policy since the 1970s.
A majority of ice arenas will feel an impact, including the two rinks at the St. Louis Park Rec Center.
That facility has two Zambonis, one of which is electric while the other has an internal combustion engine. It's that engine along with the engine on an ice edger that can impact air quality if not monitored properly.
"What we're all looking for is to provide a safe environment for everybody to skate in," Rec center manager Jason Eisold said.
On Tuesday, the Minnesota Ice Arena Managers Association met with the Department of Health in St. Paul to learn about those new air quality rules which will go into effect May 20.
"It lowered some of the acceptable levels of carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide. It also increased the frequency of testing," said Shayne Ratcliff, with the Minnesota Ice Arena Managers Association.
The carbon monoxide threshold will be lowered from 30 parts per million to 20. And in St. Louis Park, Eisold said they will go from testing air quality at each rink once a week to three times.
"The tubes that we use are $12 apiece so that gets kind of spendy when you're doing it six times a week," Eisold said.
There are 278 ice arenas in the state and 20 percent of them have turned to electricity, but nearly 80 percent of them have not and that means they will be impacted by the new rules.
The cost impact of the new rules will vary by each rink.
St. Louis Park plans to reduce the cost by purchasing an "electric" air quality tester that does not require $12 testing tubes.
The new rules will also require more air quality education for staff.
St. Louis Park has gone an extra step with a 24/7 air quality monitoring system not required by the new rules.
Eisold welcomes the changes.
"I think it's great we're always looking to make sure our customers and our users are safe."
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