KDHE continues investigation, Tanganyika splash pad remains closed
GODDARD, Kan. (KAKE) - Some kids are getting sick after playing at a local splash pad, with some ending up in the hospital. It's led to an investigation by the KDHE and the closure of the new splash pad at Tanganyika Wildlife Park.
The park's director told KAKE News it’s keeping the splash pad shutdown voluntarily until they know more about why and how those kids got sick.
“As a father, you know, I feel for those people. Right? Like, anytime your kid’s sick or in the hospital, especially, that is nerve racking and you just want answers. And you want your kid to be healthy,” said Matt Fouts, director of Tanganyika Wildlife Park.
He says he personally knows of about a couple of dozen kids who've gotten sick and those only from comments made on a Facebook announcement over the weekend.
Fouts says he wants to do everything he can to help figure out what it is at the splash park, if anything, that's making kids sick. He says even his own children were playing here almost daily.
“We had talks yesterday, touch base again today. So just kind of working with them consistently as we work through this process,” he said. “It's not anything that we wanted to happen.”
Fouts says the first he learned what was happening was Friday night, as they were closing. That’s when he says the Sedgwick County Health Department gave him a call saying some kids had gotten sick after visiting the splash pad.
“And so they'd asked us to shut it down. And so we obviously did that,” he said. “They wanted to take some water samples to see if there was a direct correlation.”
He says, however, the investigators only advised a short shutdown to clean up and re-set the filtration system designed to keep the water safe.
Fouts says they've carefully followed all the cleaning protocols for the equipment running the splash pad since the beginning.
“We had another company come in and…install the chemical treatment system, help us write all our protocols, logging chlorine levels, all that kind of stuff. So, I mean, we were doing all those things,” he said.
But, he added, the park has decided to keep the splash pad closed until further notice, saying ultimately, it's about keeping the kids safe.
“I get it 100%,” he said. “And so, my heart goes out to (the kids who are sick and their families) and I'll be praying for them.”