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Seattle Parks Working to “Get it Right” on Spraypark Systems



In recent years Seattle Parks and Recreation has converted several summer wading pool sites to sprayparks. Sprayparks use less water, are more fun (according to expert 6-year-olds) and interactive for users, and appeal to a wider range of ages of kids than the wading pools intended for toddlers.

Three new sprayparks bring Parks' inventory to nine; one more opens in 2013. Each one is an instant success. That very success is creating a challenge for Parks technical staff who maintain pool systems. All three new sprayparks (at Northacres Park, Georgetown Playfield and Beacon Mountain at Jefferson Park) shut off multiple times this past weekend because of very high usage.

Sprayparks operate similarly to swimming pools. The water is filtered, re-circulated and chemically balanced to meet public health agency standards. If the balance varies from these standards, the system shuts off until the water is automatically rebalanced. The rebalance process generally takes between 10 and 20 minutes.

Over this past weekend with its very warm weather and heavy use of the sprayparks, the tanks at the new sprayparks became clogged; the filters could not keep up with the decreased flow and shut off the systems. Bulbs in the ultraviolet (UV) system, which helps sterilize and disinfect the water, overheated and turned off the spray features. Parks technical staff who maintain the sprayparks are changing operating procedures to solve the problem, working with the contractor to eliminate shutdowns, and working with the UV manufacturer to find out how to solve the bulb problem.

Parks appreciates the public's patience while we work to eliminate system shut downs. Spraypark users can help by wearing swim attire and no street clothes or shoes on the splashpad and by keeping dogs off the splashpad.

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