Round Hill Park spray pad closed after high levels of bacteria found |

Round Hill Park spray pad closed after high levels of bacteria found

Jamie Martines
Ryan Shannon of Speers, Washington County, waits to get splashed by his daughter, Paige, 2, as his son Vaughn, 4, watches them at the water playground at Round Hill Park in Elizabeth Township on Monday, June 17, 2013.

The Round Hill Park spray pad in Elizabeth Township will be closed through Monday because tests showed high levels of bacteria in the water, the Allegheny County Health Department said Friday.

“Out of an abundance of caution, the spray pad is closed for additional water treatment and cleansing,” a statement from the health department and the Allegheny County Parks Department said.

The spray pad was closed Friday after regularly scheduled water tests from July 29 showed high levels of coliform bacteria, the statement said.

Coliform bacteria is found in human and animal feces, as well as plant and soil materials.

“The presence of coliform is one of the reasons that park rules at the spray park facilities prohibit dogs, require the reporting of any fecal or vomiting incident, require that infants in diapers or children still in training should wear pool-approved garments, and emphasize that the spray park water is not to be consumed or drank,” the statement said.

The 1,101-acre Round Hill Park also includes a farm with animals that is open to the public. The farm has sidewalks and visitors are not likely to come in contact with animal waste, said Melissa Swedish, deputy director at the parks department.

Spray pad patrons are not required to rinse off before playing in the spray pad area, but contamination from the farm area is not typically a concern, Swedish said.

Coliform bacteria could cause gastrointestinal problems if ingested. It could also infect an open wound.

Water in Allegheny County spray parks is tested every two hours for chlorine, pH and hard water levels.

Proper pH levels — how acidic the water is — determine how effectively chlorine can attack potentially harmful bacteria.

Bacteria levels are tested weekly.

Water at the spray pad was immediately drained and changed, additional chlorine was added and plumbing has been cleaned, the statement said. It will not be reopened until tests show the water is in compliance with county standards.

Jamie Martines is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jamie at 724-850-2867, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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