UPDATE (June 5, 2018)– The Marion Splash House reopened after tests came back clean.
MARION, Ind. – This weekend would’ve been a big one for the popular Marion Splash House, but instead the public water park is temporarily closed after a pool water test came back positive for E. coli.
CBS4 visited the park Friday, where families had to be turned away and the phone was ringing often with people wondering whether the pool would open soon.
The city of Marion owns the Splash House, and Director Andy Davis had to deliver the bad news in the middle of a busy Thursday afternoon.
“There (were) probably about 300 to 400 people here at the time,” Davis said.
It happened after Peggy Bradley, an environmental health specialist with the Grant County Health Department, showed up at the pool with test results she had received from a city lab.
“The test result here is for E.Coli,” Bradley said. “We showed them this and said, ‘You’ve got to close the pool now.'”
The Splash House opened for the season last weekend and saw record crowds. The E.Coli likely came after someone had an accident in the pool, Bradley said, since fecal matter is the cause. If left unchecked, the bacteria can lead to infections, diarrhea, and other issues.
“When it happens, you’ve just got to do something, you can’t let it go,” Bradley said.
The health department requires two clean tests on different days to re-open, so the park will stay closed Saturday. It was scheduled to be closed on Sunday, too, so the earliest it will re-open is Monday.
Davis showed CBS4 how he takes water samples once a week, then sends them to a city lab.
“I take two from our main water park and then two from the wave pool,” Davis said.
He sent samples to the lab on Friday morning, and said Marion Utilities officials agreed to come in on the weekend for testing on Saturday and Sunday, as well.
“I just apologize that this happened. I wish it was something I could totally control but … we’re doing what we can to remedy it as quickly as possible, and to make sure that it’s safe for everyone,” Davis said.
Symptoms of E. coli typically begin two to eight days after being exposed to the bacteria.
They include severe stomach cramps, diarrhea and vomiting. Most people recover from the illness in five to seven days. Some individuals may develop a severe illness called hemolytic uremic syndrome, or HUS, which can be life-threatening, although most people recover in a few weeks.
Those most at risk for E. coli illness include the very young, very old, and individuals with compromised immune systems.
Indiana has different requirements for public and residential pools, so if you’re wondering about the pool you visit, ask them about their testing procedures or contact your local health department.