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During the summer of 2005 a “sprayground” located in Seneca Lake State Park, upstate New York, was closed for the season following an outbreak of gastrointestinal illness caused by Cryptosporidium in the water. The attraction had been shut down because 3,800 people contracted the illness through contaminated water.
Although the sprayground used chlorinated water, Cryptosporidium is resistant to chlorine. Fearing another outbreak, in January 2006 the state’s Health Department decided to require all spraygrounds to disinfect recirculated water with ultraviolet (UV) light. UV light inactivates 99.99% of the parasites (and other disease-causing microbes). UV disinfection mimics the sun’s natural behavior, that is, ultraviolet energy destroys the ability of dangerous microorganisms to multiply, rendering them harmless to humans and the environment.
Spraygrounds are popular alternatives to swimming facilities because no standing water is used, therefore drowning is virtually impossible and the risk of water-related injuries are reduced. Without the new system, the spraygrounds could not re-open.
Doug Bingler, general manager of Residential & Commercial Water for ITT (which builds the Gould’s Pumps brands) contacted ITT ’s disinfection unit, Wedeco, which supplies UV systems to sprayparks in Europe. ITT agreed to donate a UV unit to the park. The UV system had to be built-to-order. ITT worked with the state’s construction engineer, Malcolm Pirnie, to incorporate it into the sprayground design.
“ITT is proud to have donated this Wedeco UV unit in order to help make this sprayground safer for families and children to use, said Vince Visconti, director of sales. This unit, which features a compact design is economical to operate and offers maximum disinfection performance, is a perfect fit for this type of recreation facility.”
“The use of this UV technology that ITT provides will help to prevent future outbreaks from happening and allow families and their children to enjoy water parks across the world,” said Gary Aicher, president, ITT/Advanced Water Treatment. “We hope that through awareness and stricter regulations, UV will become standard equipment at water attractions.”
With ITT's UV system donation—plus an expanded filtration system—the sprayground was able to reopen on Saturday, Aug. 26, 2006.