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Are Splash Pads Safe?

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Comanche, Ok_17 children developed rashes after playing in a splash pad in a suburb near Tulsa, Ok. 

An investigator with the state Health Department says it appears chemicals are to blame.  However, the chemicals have not been identified as the outbreak remains under investigation.  

7News discovered that operators have to add chemicals when they recirculate the water. It is a problem that the Comanche splash park will never have to deal with.  However, parents should still be aware of the parks' operating procedures.  

The city of Comanche does not recirculate the water at its splash park. The water there goes into a drain and then into the sewer, never to be used again. 

It is a decision City Manager Wilt Brown says was made partly for health reasons. "Re-circulation you have to take too good of care of the water, so ours is just pass through water. We use it just like you would to take a shower at home", Brown said. 

But when splash pads first popped up, many cities were worried about saving water. 

"Those types of parks like the one here in Duncan and in Lawton, re-use their water. When it goes into the drain it runs to a tank inside this building---where's it's treated with chemicals and put back out", Brown said.   

The same type of system is used where the rash cases were found.  But it doesn't necessarily mean those types of parks are unsafe.

Dan Brown, the South Central Quadrant Supervisor for the State Health Department said the agency does not inspect splash pads but the operators should. 

They are supposed to check the water four times per day to ensure chemicals are balanced and within the safe ranges.  

If not---the park is required to close.  Something the Comanche splash park isn't exempt from either with the ongoing drought. However, Brown says they'll take the gamble. 

"I'd rather deal with the drought and shut down our park then deal with health issues with our kids", Brown explained.   

If you have concerns about your local park you should call the operator, which is usually the city.

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