6 News expert finds more high chlorine levels in splash pads

6 News expert finds more high chlorine levels in local splash pads

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The chlorine levels at Volunteer Landing were 11, way above the recommended 3-5 PPM. The chlorine levels at Volunteer Landing were 11, way above the recommended 3-5 PPM.
World's Fair Park wasn't much better at 10.32 PPM of chlorine. World's Fair Park wasn't much better at 10.32 PPM of chlorine.
"I would not want children in either one of those bodies of water. That really is too high on the chlorine," Pat Bright said. "I would not want children in either one of those bodies of water. That really is too high on the chlorine," Pat Bright said.

By BEN PRIJATEL
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - A recent incident at World's Fair Park has parents concerned about the safety of local splash pads and fountains.

On Thursday, 19 children were taken to the hospital for exposure to chlorine bleach. They were treated for skin and eye irritation.

In light of the incident, 6 News decided to find out how the chlorine levels in water features around our area measure up.

Pat Bright has been the owner of Prism Pool in West Knoxville for the past 31 years. She's tested thousands of water samples to make sure pool owners are using the right amount of chemicals.

"In general, what you're looking for is that good chlorine level," she said.

Bright says a level around three parts per million (PPM) is best, but slightly over is okay.

"Of the two, I would rather have a level that's a little high, because high is going to cause some irritation, low can cause sickness or death," Bright said.

She uses the same kit often used at commercial pools that tests for chlorine and pH.

6 News took the kit to several local splash pads and fountains to check the levels.

First we stopped by Market Square, where we found perfect chlorine and pH levels.

Next was Volunteer Landing, where we found some very surprising results.

"This one is not good," Bright said, reading the results. "A level so high, it goes beyond the scale of our test kit."

"It blew off the top of my scale, so it's ten or better that's what it appears," she continued.

Bright said bad readings are possible, so further testing is needed.

"We'll take it back to the lab to test it to make certain, because we could be getting a false reading," she said.

Finally, we checked World's Fair Park. The Public Building Authority (PBA) said they reopened the fountains there after learning levels were back to where they should be.

But when we tested, we found another high level. It was also higher than the scale on our test kit, so we went back to the lab to get our results confirmed.

The results were just what we suspected.

The water was over 11 PPM at World's Fair Park. PBA told 6 News they try to keep it between three and five.

Volunteer landing wasn't much better at 10.32 - still twice the level what it should be.

It's something that concerned our expert.

"I would not want children in either one of those bodies of water. That really is too high on the chlorine," Bright said.

If you're concerned what can you do?

Bright says there are paper testing strips that you can by for about $13 to test the water yourself to make sure it has the right amount of chlorine.

We also talked to PBA about our results.

They said they've been testing the water more frequently since last week's incident and said most of the time, the chemicals are within normal levels.

"We're monitoring it more and making sure our levels are correct," said Jayne Burritt of PBA. "This was the first time in six years that we've had an incident, so it's a surprise to us, so we're just making sure that we have our hands around it completely."

Still, our expert stands by her results and says that chlorine and pH levels can vary greatly.

That's especially true in a place like a splash pad, because there are a lot of people in it and the heat and sun can dilute chlorine.

She recommends that commercial pools and splash pads be tested every couple of hours.

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