A number of sprayparks in the state of New York did not
open this summer due to the controversial and
costly emergency health code requiring
ultraviolet disinfection systems.
The code was installed in January in response to the
spraypark outbreak at Seneca Lake State Park in Geneva,
N.Y., last summer. The outbreak sickened nearly 4,000
people. Health officials determined
cryptosporidium, found in the holding tanks, was
As a result, many sprayparks around the state have been
required to install UV systems or switch to a wading pool,
or face closure. Those implementing UV also delayed
facility openings due to long permitting processes.
?We require any establishment to comply with
state laws,? said Jeffrey Hammond, spokesperson for
the New York Department of Health. ?So if they want
to do a spraypark, they need to comply with spraypark
The ruling caused a financial headache for Bruce
Schaefer, who did not have the budget to purchase and
install a UV system on his spray pad, which he had been
running for three summers. The spray pad had brought in 30
percent more sales for his establishment.
?The health department said it happened up
there, so it could happen here,? said Schaefer,
general manager of Catskill Game Farm in Catskill, N.Y.
?We?ve never once had a problem with any
kind of sickness because we?re very fussy with it.
But now we had to shut it down because of one place.
[Instead], we have a $320,000 sand bed now.?
The Christian Youth Organization in Staten Island, N.Y.,
had just finished building a spraypark that would be
available to summer camps and special needs programs, but
was not allowed to open due to the regulations, said Tony
Napolitano, consultant for the CYO.
Napolitano agreed that steps needed to be taken to
ensure the same outbreak would not be repeated, but he
thought the state should have provided more alternatives so
parks could open safely.
The spraypark at Seneca Lake State Park was refitted
with an expanded filtration system and a UV system. A fence
now surrounds the pad, with warning signs not to drink the
water or enter if suffering from a gastrointestinal
illness. It will open in mid-July.
Cryptosporidium is a parasite that causes
vomiting, diarrhea, fever, weight loss and other symptoms.
It can be spread through fecal matter introduced into a
recreational water setting and takes nearly a week to be
destroyed by chlorine.