Charlotte, North Carolina – The U.S National Whitewater Center (USNWC) started a rigorous cleaning process at their whitewater channels by draining water from them.
These actions come as a response to the death of an Ohio teenager that contracted a brain-eating ameba, supposedly while rafting at the whitewater center. Water tests made afterward showed in their results the presence of the ameba, called Naegleria fowleri.
Dr. Marcus Plescia, director of the Mecklenburg County Health Department, said during a press conference that, though they do not know how long the process will take, it is still “an excellent first step.”
The Health Department discussed with the USNWC about the different options and steps they could take to clean the Charlotte facility. The center has drained whitewater that runs in the pools at the top part of the park into the lower pool. This way, the center can begin with the cleaning process in those areas as stated by Plescia. He is not sure of what the center will do with the drained water.
Mecklenburg County Health Department is working alongside with the Centres for Disease Control (CDC) to provide the USNWC with more information and come with other possible solutions. The Health Department recommends the USNWC to work with a consultant, which could help the water facility to optimize their systems.
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About the eradication of the ameba, Plescia stated that it is impossible, since it is naturally present in bodies of water, increasing as the temperature rises or spread with rain. He also clarified that the Health Department does not have the capacity to analyze the water for the Naegleria fowleri.
Plescia expects the facility to take measures to prevent similar situations in the future and to work on regulations for maintaining the water quality. According to WSOC TV, Plescia stated that he has not seen the center’s water treatment records because currently it keeps its files and it is not regulated by the state. This makes the USNWC the only park of the three of its kind nationwide that is not governed by an official state agency.
Governor McCrory insists on the necessity of a review of oversight for the water facility
North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory waged in on the case and said that there needs to be a “total reexamination” of regulatory supervision of the state’s whitewater center, as quoted by Charlotte Observer.
“We should have a total reexamination of how these types of facilities are dealt with in comparison to swimming pools,” Gov. McCrory told The Observer.
Mecklenburg County does an annual test of the water in public pools for pH and disinfectant levels, though a test for the presence of the Naegleria fowleri is not as common.
Source: Charlotte Observer