NO POO PARK HERE: WetSide a safe place to play, says council
AS THE New South Wales government cracks down on health and safety regulations at the state's water parks after concerns were raised regarding contaminated water and diarrhoea outbreaks, the question is being asked - how safe is WetSide in Hervey Bay?
According to Essential Baby, the NSW State Government is planning to change the Public Health Act to make clear the new splash parks and interactive water fountains are included in the definition of public swimming pool to help protect patrons against disease.
So, what guidelines does the council currently have in place to protect those who use WetSide from disease and infection?
Events and Recreation Portfolio councillor Darren Everard said the bacteria outbreaks currently affecting Sydney water parks were not an issue for WetSide.
"From what we understand the bacteria outbreaks in New South Wales are occurring at facilities which do not supervise patrons, therefore small children and babies are not wearing appropriate swim nappies, which increases the change of faecal matter contaminating the water.
"WetSide staff enforce the use of swim nappies for children of ages that are not toilet trained.
"If there is an accident, the area is isolated and thoroughly disinfected before reopening."
Cr Everard said biological testing was undertaken every week by Wide Bay Water to ensure the water quality at WetSide.
"The park is cleaned every day before opening to ensure the facilities are ready for the public," he said.
"All surfaces, TotSide, railings, are cleaned regularly."
Cr Everard said no harmful bacteria had been identified during the testing of the water.
"WetSide water is treated the same as the water at the aquatic centre and operate according to the Queensland Health Swimming and Spa Pool Water Quality and Operation guidelines.
"New equipment has been installed so water quality can be monitored from any computer or smart phone with internet access.
"The system sends notifications via text message and email if there are any concerns."
During the winter shutdown, the FlipSide BoardRider and main water play tanks were emptied and thoroughly cleaned, Cr Everard said.
Every week the laboratory tests for:
- pH levels
- total alkalinity
- free chlorine
- calcium hardness
- heterotrophic plate count
- Escherichia coli