Texas Gov. Rick Perry has signed Senate Bill 968, setting state standards for sprayparks and interactive fountains. The legislation comes as a Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention report on a 2007 crypto outbreak cites a need for increased regulation, monitoring and partnership between operators and health officials.
Regulations are still being finalized, but a draft version requires
automatic disinfectant and pH feed systems, sets standards for
chemical levels and testing, and requires a supplemental
disinfection such as UV or ozone.
“This is not a ‘crypto bill,’ but a
recreational water illness prevention bill that’s going to
benefit all of Texas,” said Zachary Thompson, Dallas
County Department of Health and Human Services director.
“The fact that we did not have regulations demonstrates there
are outdated pool codes. I would encourage anyone in states where
there are no regulations to explore taking action.”
Thompson brought the matter to Sen. Royce West, who sponsored the
“It gives counties and cities the ability to monitor these
interactive sprayparks,” West said of the bill.
The CDC report details the findings of a crypto outbreak
associated with an Idaho splashpark in which 45 cases were
identified. It states that “… governments should
consider including splashparks in the pool code and requiring
pre-construction health department consultation, supplemental
disinfection technology (e.g., ultraviolet light), appropriate
hygiene facilities, and education of splashpark operators and the
“The investigation found that issues identified as
contributing to the outbreak possibly could have been avoided if
the local health department had been consulted during the design
phase,” said Michele Hlavsa, CDC epidemiologist. “What
it comes down to is, basically, interactive fountains are no
different than pools. ...”
in addition to the Texas legislation, other operators are beginning
to get the message. At a city council meeting last spring, Michigan
City (Mich) Parks Department superintendent Jan Orlich requested
additional funding to complete a new splash pad. She stressed the
need for careful monitoring and maintenance to prevent water-borne
illnesses such as crypto.
“They’re almost a larger concern that our swimming
pools,” said Orlich of the splash pads.