To visit a water park or not? Sometimes your concerns have nothing to do with swimming ability, but rather water quality. As a mom of small children, I understand how important this topic is and I want to give you confidence when you bring your family to Dollywood’s Splash Country.
Tennessee and local health codes require water facilities in the state to maintain healthy pH and chlorine levels as well as ensure all equipment is in good working condition—subject to inspection. Splash Country sees that bar and jumps way over it. Here’s what I learned when I sat down to ask our water park’s Facilities and Maintenance Manager about keeping the water clean:
What Kinds of Issues Impact Water Quality?
Sun and water are a great recipe for a fun summer day, but it also means you better be protecting your skin! I bring this up because I want you to think about what happens to all that sunscreen. Yep, you see that murky water and know what I’m talking about. At Dollywood’s Splash Country, the filters and chemical controllers are working hard to ensure the pH and chlorine isn’t impacted at an unsafe level. But anything from sunscreen, to makeup and hair products can affect the water’s pH. Of course, you’re thinking of the obvious one—dirty diapers. But, the biggest foe is perhaps mechanical failures—say a pump or filter stops working. That’s why you want the technology and strategy Dollywood’s Splash Country uses. Read on to learn more!
Whose Job Is It Anyway?
Dollywood’s Splash Country employs a team of people specifically to watch water quality. Two people test every body of water at the water park every hour. They physically retrieve a sample from each attraction so they can verify the levels are where they need to be. Look for the people in the blue shirts!
It takes about 15-20 minutes to collect all the samples and then 5-10 minutes to test and record the readings. Reminder, they do this before the park opens and then HOURLY until the park is closed.
There are six people who monitor the water quality through digital reports. The computer system has pre-sets for all water quality expectations—if the levels are too low or too high, an alarm goes off and multiple people receive an email notifying them of the change. I found it interesting that the pre-sets the water park team selected provide a buffer so they are notified of a discrepancy before there’s actually anything wrong. If the chemical level starts creeping the wrong way, they’re on it!
Also worth mentioning: at any given time, the water quality team members are able to pull up a live reading of all bodies of water. The technology is pretty cool. All levels are governed by a chemical controller. If a particular body of water’s pH or chlorine levels jump or dip, the Splash Country team will know soon after. From there, they can turn off or add needed chemicals/chlorine and let the filters do their thing.
How Does Splash Country Handle a Discrepancy?
Because the team is proactive, and they’re always adjusting the water as needed, Splash Country doesn’t have to shut down attractions often. But, if a level is off, here’s what you can expect them to do: if a test reveals a water level that’s outside the pre-set numbers, the team will test that particular body of water again to confirm the reading. Then if that less-than-ideal level is confirmed, they will close the attraction until the pH and chlorine level is where it should be.
How Can You Help?
Please don’t skip the sunscreen. The filters can do their job.
But, it truly helps if you’ve been sick to stay home.
And, remember if you have children in diapers they must wear swim diapers!
If you have any water quality concerns, report it to a lifeguard or a Splash Country manager in a yellow shirt—chances are, they’re already on it!