Headlines around the world call attention to global
warming, drought conditions, carbon footprint reduction and going
“green.” Is it even possible to build and maintain a
waterpark in these conditions?
When it comes to waterparks, one of the toughest obstacles is
overcoming public perception. The visitor sees what appears to be
an endless stream of water flowing all over the park. What they
don’t see are the very strict measures that parks take to
conserve water behind the scenes.
On average, a 100,000-square-foot waterpark resort might use
125,000 to 160,000 gallons of water per day. In comparison, golf
courses in the United States consume an average of 300,000 to
500,000 gallons of water per day, according to Eric Hansen,
development services director at Hotel & Leisure
Advisors in Cleveland.
In addition, new technologies enable waterparks to reduce, reuse
and recycle water. One of the key elements is the use of
regenerative media filters (RMF) instead of high-rate sand
filtration. This filtration system requires no backwashing, saving
up to 90 percent of wastewater. It also eliminates the need for a
backwash holding tank.
Every day, more and more cities worldwide are requiring new
construction to be “green.” Whether building a new
waterpark or just refurbishing an existing park, regenerative media
filters can help builders achieve that goal — including
earning LEED certification points.
RMF technology operates on the premise of surface filtration and
offers tremendous dirt holding capacity, which extends filter
cycles to weeks or even months. The reduction in backwash water
also means that less “makeup” water needs to be
reheated and retreated with chemicals.
Operators report more than 30 percent savings on chemicals and
heating fuel, which helps reduce the carbon footprint.
Additional features that reduce the carbon and water footprints are
reduced electricity usage and saving on construction room.
Regenerative media filters operate at a lower head (TDH) compared
with traditional sand filters, thus saving motor horsepower. When
paired with a variable frequency drive (VFD), electrical usage may
be cut up to 30 percent. The RMF mechanical footprint requires less
than one quarter of the space occupied by sand filters, which
significantly saves on construction costs.
Because so much more waste water is being eliminated, it becomes
critical to maintain optimum pool water quality. Regenerative media
filters can remove particles down to 1 micron. This allows for more
than 99.9 percent of cryptosporidium to be removed in a
single pass, according to testing performed by University of North Carolina
at Charlotte. The superfine filtration of the water also
increases UV sanitation efficiency.
So an additional benefit is that a regenerative media filter
combined with a UV sanitation system becomes the best defense
against recreational waterborne illnesses (RWIs).
Here are three examples of waterparks with extreme weather
conditions that are benefiting from RMF.
1. Australia, suffering its worst drought in a century, is home
to WhiteWater World in Queensland. According to Angus
Hutchings, the park’s environmental manager, the regenerative
media filtration has the most impact on their water conservation.
They use 90 percent less water and save approximately 23 million
liters of water per year. Additionally, in an independent,
third-party water efficiency audit conducted by Environmental Resources Management Australia,
WhiteWater World has been given the highest efficiency rating
possible for a waterpark.
2.Wild Wadi Waterpark, located in Dubai, UAE, has been
attracting thousands of guests from all over the world. And
that’s creating an operational challenge as a result of the
extremely high bather loads combined with scorching temperatures
and year-round operation. In an effort to reduce water usage, the
park installed one regenerative media filter to test on the
children’s pool. This resulted in a 93 percent drop in
backwash requirements, as reported by Chris Perry, director of
operations. Eventually, all filters were replaced with regenerative
media filters, saving 600,000 gallons of water in the first month
3. In 2008, North Carolina suffered from its worst drought on
record. That’s also the same year Great Wolf Lodge
Resorts broke ground on a new, 80,000-square-foot waterpark
resort in Concord. Great Wolf relied on regenerative media filters
along with other water-saving measures to gain approval for
construction. Great Wolf Lodge Resorts began using regenerative
media filtration systems in 2004. Since installing regenerative
media filters, the waterparks use 80- to 90 percent less water than
two of its earlier installations that include sand filters, says
Steve Shattuck, the resort chain’s communications
Because the filtration was so efficient, Great Wolf management
began to notice that the hotel portion of the resorts used twice as
much water per day as the waterpark components — not
something anyone would expect. As a result, the company launched
Project Green Wolf, which included rewriting nearly every page of its
operational procedures manuals. Regenerative media filtration
systems were written in as the new standard to maximize recycling
and reuse, as well as reducing chemical use in the