UV disinfection was the optimal water treatment solution when a cryptosporidium outbreak occurred at a Minnesota Waterpark. The Edgewater Hotel and Waterpark is a popular destination located on the western shores of Lake Superior. The resort features an outdoor pool and hot tub, an indoor waterpark with three pools and a hot tub, as well as a long list of amenities including a miniature golf course and arcade.
The Edge waterpark meets or exceeds industry standards and health codes concerning water quality, yet still suffered from an outbreak of Cryptosporidiosis. “Crypto” is a chlorine tolerant pathogen responsible for 75% of Recreational Waterpark Illnesses (RWI’s) reported to the CDC. This chlorine tolerant parasite is spread through the fecal discharge of infected people and spreads when other swimmers ingest contaminated water.In March of 2012, dozens of possible cases of Cryptosporidiosis were traced to the waterpark. After learning that people had become ill, the waterpark was quickly closed and a 13-hour super dose of chlorine was applied to disinfect Crypto. The Edge Waterpark was proactive and honest with the community. They worked closely with the local media and sent 25,000 letters to notify recent guests.When the Edge was built in 2005, UV was not well known in the industry. At the time of the 2012 Crypto outbreak, the waterpark met all health code requirements. Detailed logbooks on the measures that were taken to safeguard patrons were reviewed. The facility utilized a highly functional filtration system and tested the chlorine and pH levels every two to three hours, much more frequently than required by code. Swimmers were required to shower before entering the pool. It was mandatory for babies and toddlers to wear swim diapers, which were provided at no cost. Staff at The Edge were at a loss over what could have been done differently to protect patrons from Crypto.
ZMC Hotels, which owns Edge, made an investment to make sure a large Crypto outbreak does not happen again. ZMC chose ETS-UV™ disinfection systems because they are the market leader in UV and have an excellent reputation for supporting installations long after the sale. UV technology is 99.9% effective inactivating Crypto in a way that normal levels of chlorine will not. This level of disinfection has been proven by validation, using independent third-party testing with U.S. EPA drinking water standards (USEPA UVDGM). The UV systems also dramatically improved the air quality by controlling the malodorous and corrosive byproducts of chlorine disinfection.Validated UV has become the standard for improving air and water quality at commercial pools. UV not only controls corrosive chloramines, but it also highly disinfects chlorine tolerant pathogens responsible for most of the Recreational Water Illnesses reported to the CDC. Health officials are increasingly addressing Crypto concerns by adding requirements for UV on public pools and water features.