Water Park Guest Becomes Seriously Ill Due to Inadequate Water Treatment


Aquatics SafetyThis case involves a female child who became seriously ill with a gastrointestinal infection after swimming at the Defendant water park. The day before the child visited the park with her family, records kept by the Defendant facility noted that a recent water analysis indicated an excessive bacterial load, and did not conform with the state or ANSI recreational bathing standards. Nevertheless, the facility did not take any action to remediate the issue, and kept the park open for business. Furthermore, it was noted that no additional testing was done for some time after the initial negative test result. It was alleged that the park was well aware of the dangers posed to bathers by the elevated bacterial load in the park’s water, and was dangerously negligent in keeping the park open for business.

Question(s) For Expert Witness

  • 1. Please briefly describe your familiarity with recreational water standards in situations such as this.
  • 2. Are you able to address the proper testing and remediation methods for public recreational water, such as in this water park?

Expert Witness Response E-044954

For 29 years at the National Sanitation Foundation, I worked in research, standards and treatment technologies applicable to recreational and drinking water. My work in these areas has focused on microbiological pathogens and chemical contaminants. I was the leader of the technical team that first demonstrated that UV radiation inactivates this bacteria under an EPA grant. I later directed scientists and engineers to verify the performance of technologies to reduce and inactivate bacteria in recreational pool water. I also worked on the NSF Pool Standard 50 committee to develop new requirements to address this bacteria. If the facility was aware of the risk posed to bathers by the test results described above, then it would be plainly negligent for them to remain open.

Expert Witness Response E-049867

I have a first hand knowledge of and experience with commercial swimming pool water quality standards,  including those concerning the bacteria in question here. I am also knowledgeable regarding testing protocols and remediation options. I am currently on the Board of the Council for the Model Aquatic Health Code (MAHC) which is a national model code developed by the CDC. I am an active instructor for the Certified Pool Operator program developed by the National Swimming Pool Foundation.

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