Maintaining an Ocean of Fun:
Best Water Quality Practices at Waterparks
Waterparks provide a fun haven during the sizzling days of summer, and while guests are frolicking in the cool water, managers and maintenance specialists are making sure the water and park remain clean and safe. At Roaring Springs Waterpark in Meridian, Idaho, General Manager Frank Morandi and his certified pool experts monitor the 10-acre park, which includes attractions such as a 50-foot slide, a raft ride, a wave pool and a children’s area. “We get about 275,000 guests per year, so we are ex-tremely vigilant in the care and cleanliness of the entire park,” Morandi explained. “It’s easy to understand that each waterpark is different, but each pool is different as well and we have to monitor each pool for its specific needs.” Morandi has noticed that in the past few years more phosphates have registered in water and phosphates help with the proliferation of algae, so his staff uses a phosphate remover. “The phosphates could come from farmers’ fertilizers. Our location has a higher concentration of minerals too, so we are diligent about monitoring the water especially when it comes to mineral levels.”
The Roaring Springs Waterpark now uses ultraviolet light in the pump room for the kiddie pool. The ultraviolet light destroys or inactivates bacteria and protozoa. Water runs through the UV unit after it has gone through filtration.
In order to be able to balance the water properly, Morandi monitors alkalinity, calcium hardness, the water temperature and the pH. These factors determine the saturation index. If the saturation is too negative, the water can be corrosive and can eat away at pool components. If it is too positive, it can cause lime scale.
“It is so important to balance everything, and it’s not just the pool we monitor, but the slides as well since they can also get calcium deposits,” noted Morandi. “We acid wash them and then buff and wax them at least once a year and always during the off season. It is hard work and a lot of the guests are unaware of what it takes to keep a waterpark safe and clean.”
Located at Lopez Lake Recreation Area, the two-acre Mustang Waterpark sees more than 250 guests per day. Chris Simpson, who has owned the park since 2009, tests and monitors the water several times each day.
“We test the water before opening in the morning to make sure we are in the compliance range as dictated by the county’s Environmental and Health Department,” he noted. “Then every two hours, we do monitoring and testing again.”
The park has six slides. Three are for toddler-age children; two are classic slides that were opened in the 1970s and a giant half-pipe slide winder, which debuted in 2005.
“We are always working to make sure everything is clean. We change the water frequently, and we also sanitize the mats and tubes on a regular basis. Guests notice cleanliness and it makes them feel safe and excited to come back often during the season. A waterpark is a great way to beat the heat, and we want to be the park people love to visit.”
Wild Rivers is a 15-acre waterpark in Irvine, Calif., which is home to more than 40 rides and attractions including two wave pools, a lazy river, slides, tube rides and three children’s pools.
“Taking care of a park this size requires the right equipment and the right people,” said Greg Briggs, COO of the waterpark. “We use high rate sand filters and liquid chlorine to balance the water. We also have a new attraction, Buccaneer Bay, where we use ultraviolet light. We were looking at this technology for awhile, and by law new attractions are required to use it, so it gave us an excuse to bring it in. We are now using UV light on some of our other attractions as well. The UV light helps cut down on the amount of chlorine we need in the pools and it kills bacteria and parasites and other harmful things so, whatever adds to the safety and enjoyment of guests, is fine with us.” As General Manager of Caribbean Water Adventure at Knight’s Action Park in Springfield, Ill., Doug Knight oversees attractions that include a giant wave pool, bumper boats, the Caribbean Wild River and Seal Bay, an area for younger children. “We use high rate sand filtration and Sodium Hypochlorite in the pools,” Knight explained. “All our pools are computer controlled as well. The computers measure chlorine and turn on and off the pumps. We also have back up pumps in case anything happens to the main ones.” Knight and his staff constantly monitor the computers and test the water every hour. If chlorine is on the high side, they add stabilizer. “The pools are 400,000 gallons so we do frequently add drums of chlorine and let it filter over night. We do clean and sanitize our tubes in the spring, but the sun and chlorine do a great job cleaning them during the season.” –