Water quality issues have recently plagued two Great Wolf Resorts properties first with wastewater treatment violations at its Pocono Township, Pa. location, followed by ill guests at its Mason, Ohio, waterpark.
Since February, dozens of guests at the Great Wolf Lodge in Mason allegedly experienced rashes, coughing and respiratory symptoms after visiting the resort. Only one child was taken to an emergency room and some received treatment on the scene. None had been hospitalized.
About five or six groups or families have complained since the beginning of the year, according to the Warren County Health Department and the Ohio Department of Health. However, no staff members have experienced any symptoms. The resort opened in mid-December.
So far, tests indicate the water in the pools is normal, but officials think the sickness may stem from chloramines in the air. Chloramines are chlorine byproducts created when organic matter, such as skin and body fluids, reacts with chlorine. Great Wolf officials said they are working to solve the problem.
Meanwhile, at the Great Wolf Lodge in the Poconos, the state?s Department of Environmental Protection imposed a $833,349 fine on the resort after citing it on three separate occasions. Two notices were for stream pollution and one was for odor problems stemming from the wastewater treatment plant.
?This was a really high-profile problem in the community around the resort,? said Mark Carmon, community relations coordinator at the Department of Environmental Protection in Wilkes-Barre. ?What [the Poconos] promotes is the pristine nature of the area, and here?s this large new waterpark that comes in and pollutes one of its streams.?
Carmon said many the problems stemmed from internal plumbing and lack of sufficient grease traps in the kitchen and snack-bar facilities, which impacted the sewage treatment. This situation is rare for a new facility, he said. An excessive amount of grease was entering the plant, causing it to malfunction and discharge cloudy water into the stream. The department had issued water quality permits to the company in 2003, establishing stream discharge limits.
Great Wolf shut down the plant and physically cleaned it, and also had to clean up the stream. The resort is being inspected more frequently and without warning.
?The company did acknowledge the problems, spent a lot of money, paid the penalty and has been operating in compliance,? Carmon said.