Mechanical Error Caused Chemical Spill at Waterpark

An unknown amount of chlorine was pumped into the pool, according to police chief.

Manassas Park Police Chief John Evans released a statement today that says the chemical spill that sent six children to the hospital and closed Signal Bay Waterpark since Saturday was a mechanical failure.

Prince William Health District Senior Environmental Health Specialist Jimmy Knapp concluded that the pool's mechanical system allowed an excess amount of chlorine to be pumped into the water.

The city manager and the parks and recreation department director were both unavailable for questions today. Evans said he did not have any additional information beyond the prepared statement.

The statement does not say how much chlorine got into the pool and it does not provide any update on the people taken to a local hospital the Saturday afternoon this happened.

Knapp will prepare an inspection report that will list recommendations to increase safety at the pool. The press release states that the city will implement all recommendations from Knapp's report when he finishes it. No time table for that report to be completed was mentioned.

At about 1:30 p.m. Saturday June 11, lifeguards noticed a yellow discoloration in the pool water. The pool was evacuated and victims were checked at the park until more rescue personnel arrived.

One child complained of breathing problems and there were reports of people getting sick at the waterpark. About 300 people were at the waterpark at the time of the incident. Six swimmers were taken by medics to Prince William Hospital in Manassas for treatment while one other person went to the hospital on their own, City Manager James Zumwalt said June 11.

"The City of Manassas Park and its Parks and Recreation Department take seriously our responsibility to ensure the safety of those who use our facilities," the statement today says. "We are replacing the chemical handling equipment and implementing the recommendations."

City officials hope to have the water park reopen June 18 for a private party that was already scheduled. The officials hope the general public can return to the public pool June 19.


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