City provides update on splash park safety following illness in Sedgwick County

In a file photo Newton Parks Superintendent Hondo Collins, right, stands inside the pumping and filtration facility for Spring Lake Splash Park. Photo by Wendy Nugent.

By Adam Strunk

Newton’s splash pad is safe.

The city put out the message following the news story of illness caused by a malfunctioning filtration system and the Tanganyika Wildlife Park in Goddard. In that case, the Sedgwick County Health Department and Kansas Department of Health and Environment continue to investigate diarrheal illness in those who used the pad on June 18.

“Our splash park has been open for more than 10 years now, and we haven’t had an outbreak like that occur,” Director of Communications Erin McDaniel said of the Spring Lake Splash Park located at 110 Springlake Drive, Newton.

The water that the splash pad uses is chlorinated, and it then recirculates through a filtration system.

She said that the splash pad is on a regular maintenance and chlorination schedule just like the city swimming pool.

Chlorine kills most pathogens that can make people sick, but not quite all, such as cryptosporidium, a microscopic parasite that causes diarrhea and vomiting.

Because of this, McDaniel said there’s always a risk when using pools or splash pads.

“It’s a risk anywhere anytime you have little children, especially water with pools or splash pads,” she said.

The parasite spreads through contact with infected fecal matter or water contaminated with the matter.

McDaniel said, because of this, those with diarrhea should not use a splash pad or public pool. Children with diapers should be checked and changed regularly. People should also report any fecal matter spotted around the pool or splash pad to city or park staff.

“We’ve had a few instances where our staff goes out and disinfect the area,” she said.

Another tip to stay healthy would be to avoid swallowing pool water.

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