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
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.