Splash Park 2021 Updates

To proactively address some of the more straightforward splash park closure questions that were being asked, Tanganyika has posted a frequently asked questions page. This answers some of the most common questions, and we will continually update this page so everyone will have access to the questions and answers as we can identify and address your concerns.

 

We would also encourage you to be as calm and patient as possible. Also, please keep in mind that this remains an evolving situation. Not every single Tanganyika team member has been apprised of all details regarding this closure, which came fast. For your own sake, we would stress patience and calmness. For the sake of those with whom you interact, kindness will be the ultimate virtue.

FAQs

What Enhancements Did You Make to the Splash Park?

Is the Smell of Chlorine at the Splash Park Bad?

What’s the Difference Between Sanitation & Filtration?

What Bacteria was Identified by KDHE in the 3 Initial Cases?

I Saw a Picture of a Penguin in Your Splash Park. Do You Allow Animals in Your Splash Park?

What are Coliforms?

Coliforms and E. coli Were Found in the Samples. Are They Dangerous?

 

Updates

Update 7-23-21

LETTER FROM SEDGWICK COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENT

 

OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE

(Sedgwick County, Kan.) –Tanganyika Falls Splash Park in Goddard, Kan. has exceeded the re-opening recommendations for splash park safety and will re-open this weekend.

The Sedgwick County Health Department (SCHD) and Sedgwick County Health Officer Dr. Garold Minns approved the re-opening after Tanganyika voluntarily implemented enhancements to the facility in June and July. The approval comes after the review of a report by an independent aquatic design firm, chemical testing completed on July 21, and results of a July 16 inspection performed by SCHD, an independent pool inspector, and staff from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“I said from the beginning the safety of our guests is a top priority.” said Tanganyika Wildlife Park Director Matt Fouts. “I believe our collaboration with all the parties involved in re-opening the splash park demonstrates that commitment.  We are thrilled to have Tanganyika Falls open once again to the community and visitors in the Wichita area.”

The Park’s improvements meet the CDC’s Model Aquatic Health Code (MAHC) (www.cdc.gov/mahc) which is guidance to help ensure healthy and safe experiences in public pools, hot tubs, and splash parks.

“The Splash Park is safe for visitors. Tanganyika began making enhancements to their facility as soon as they were was notified of the illnesses.” said Health Director Adrienne Byrne. “The Sedgwick County Health Department encourages all water facilities in Sedgwick County to follow the MAHC.”

Individuals who visited Tanganyika Wildlife Park from May 28 through June 19 are asked to complete a survey designed to help investigators determine the cause of the outbreak and the number of people affected. People who visited the Park who became ill, as well as those who did not become ill, should complete the survey. The survey is at https://tinyurl.com/kssplash.

The Splash Park has been closed since June 19. Eight people who visited the Splash Park on June 11 have tested positive for Shigella bacteria.

Shigella bacteria are usually associated with humans and not animals. The bacteria are spread from person-to-person through exposure to contaminated stool (feces). Shigella spreads easily; just a small number of bacteria can spread illness. Someone can become infected with Shigella through swallowing contaminated recreational water; touching items that are contaminated and touching the mouth; or caring for someone who has Shigella, including cleaning up after the person who uses the bathroom or when changing diapers.

Update 7-21-21

Sedgwick County Health Department is reviewing information from an independent pool inspector.

 

Update 7-15-21

Investigations into reports of illness associated with Tanganyika continue.

Update 7-14-21

Seven people have tested positive for Shigella bacteria and visited the Splash Park on June 11, 2021. Investigations are ongoing.

DNA fingerprinting was performed on Shigella bacteria from two cases who reside in different counties, using a standardized laboratory and data analysis method called whole genome sequencing (WGS). WGS showed that bacteria isolated from these two cases were closely related genetically. This means that they likely share a common source of infection.

Update 7-13-21

Kansas Department of Health and Environment, Sedgwick County Investigate Illnesses at Splash Park

Update July 13, 2021: Anyone who visited the park from May 28th through June 19th of 2021 is asked to take a new survey.

The investigation by the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) and Sedgwick County Health Department (SCHD) into illnesses at Tanganyika Wildlife Park is ongoing.  If you visited Tanganyika Wildlife Park from May 28th through June 19th, 2021, please take this new survey at https://tinyurl.com/kssplash.

Please complete this survey, even if you have already completed a similar survey when the investigation was first announced. To determine the cause of illness, it is important for us to get information from those who became ill as well as those that did NOT become ill. The information you report through this website is safe, secure, and confidential. Your information will only be viewed by the public health staff working on this investigation, and not shared with any outside organizations.

    • If you live in Sedgwick County, Kansas, and do not have access to a computer to complete the survey, contact the Sedgwick County Health Department via email at DiseaseReporting@sedgwick.gov or call 316-660-5558.
    • If you live outside of Sedgwick County and do not have access to a computer to complete the survey, contact your local health department.

 

Update 7-2-21

OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE

KDHE, Sedgwick County Splash Park Investigation Update

 

(Sedgwick County, Kan.) – The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) and the Sedgwick County Health Department (SCHD) continue to investigate cases of illness associated with Tanganyika Wildlife Park in Goddard, Kan., just west of Wichita.

 

KDHE became aware of the first three cases linked to the park on June 18. All three people tested positive for Shigella bacteria. Water samples collected by KDHE at Tanganyika Splash Park on June 19 were tested at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). No Shigella bacteria were detected, but coliform and E. coli bacteria were detected in some of the samples. In water sample testing, the presence of these bacteria indicates likely fecal contamination. The water results are a snapshot of water quality on the day the samples were collected. Further interpretation of the water sample results is ongoing.

 

Three additional people have tested positive for Shigella bacteria, bringing the total cases linked to the park to six. All six cases visited the Splash Park area on June 11, 2021. Investigations into other possible linked cases are ongoing. Additional testing is underway to determine if the bacteria from each person are related.

 

KDHE and SCHD have also identified other diarrheal illnesses among individuals who reported being at the Splash Park. Individuals have tested positive for norovirus, sapovirus, and a type of E. coli called enteropathogenic E. coli. Investigations are ongoing as to whether these illnesses are associated with exposure at the Splash Park.

 

The Splash Park has remained closed since June 19. Since then, Sedgwick County has worked with Tanganyika on improvements to processes which will meet the CDC’s Model Aquatic Health Code (www.cdc.gov/mahc).

 

This investigation remains ongoing and KDHE and SCHD will continue to provide updates to the public and patrons of the park.

 

Shigella bacteria spread easily; just a small number of bacteria can spread illness person-to-person through exposure to contaminated stool (feces). Someone can become infected with Shigella through swallowing contaminated recreational water; touching items that are contaminated and touching the mouth; or caring for someone who has Shigella, including cleaning up after the person who uses the bathroom or when changing diapers.

 

Update 7-1-21

Sedgwick County Health Department continues to reach out to Sedgwick County residents who took the KDHE online survey, reported being at the park, and are experiencing fever, diarrhea or vomiting.

 

Update 6-30-21

Sedgwick County Health Department continues to reach out to Sedgwick County residents who took the KDHE online survey, reported being at the park, and are experiencing fever, diarrhea or vomiting.

 

Update 6-29-21

Sedgwick County Health Department continues to reach out to Sedgwick County residents who took the KDHE online survey, reported being at the park, and are experiencing fever, diarrhea or vomiting.

 

Update 6-28-21

Sedgwick County Health Department continues to reach out to Sedgwick County residents who took the KDHE online survey, reported being at the park, and are experiencing fever, diarrhea or vomiting.

 

Update 6-27-21

Sedgwick County Health Department continues to reach out to Sedgwick County residents who took the KDHE online survey, reported being at the park, and are experiencing fever, diarrhea or vomiting.

 

Update 6-26-21

Sedgwick County Health Department continues to reach out to Sedgwick County residents who took the KDHE online survey, reported being at the park, and are experiencing fever, diarrhea or vomiting.

 

Update 6-25-21

Sedgwick County Health Department continues to reach out to Sedgwick County residents who took the KDHE online survey, reported being at the park, and are experiencing fever, diarrhea or vomiting.

 

Update 6-24-21

Sedgwick County Health Department is contacting some Sedgwick County residents who took the KDHE online survey, reported being at the park, and are experiencing fever, diarrhea or vomiting.


Update 6-23-21

The county and KDHE were able to confirm the bacteria, Shigella,  that connected the three cases. It has been one of the most frequently asked questions we have received and we are finally able to provide an answer.  Now those that are sick can consult with their doctors to see if that is what is affecting them and get the proper treatment.

 

https://www.sedgwickcounty.org/health/facts-info-and-statistics/health-information-and-statistics/shigella-facts-and-details/

 

OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE

(Sedgwick County, Kan.) – The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) and Sedgwick County Health Department (SCHD) continue to investigate cases of illness associated with Tanganyika Wildlife Park in Goddard, Kan., just west of Wichita. KDHE became aware of the possible link between the cases on Friday, June 18 and began investigation the same day.

 

Initially, there were three cases that were identified as linked to the park. These cases have tested positive for Shigella bacteria. Additional testing is underway to determine if the bacteria from each person are related. Shigella is a bacteria spread from person-to-person through exposure to contaminated stool (feces).

 

Shigella spreads easily; just a small number of bacteria can spread illness. Someone can become infected with Shigella through swallowing contaminated recreational water, touching items that are contaminated and touching your mouth, or caring for someone who has Shigella, including cleaning up after the person uses the bathroom or changing diapers.

 

On June 20, KDHE and SCHD released a survey for people who had visited Tanganyika and experienced fever, diarrhea or vomiting. More than 200 people have responded to the survey. Further analysis of the survey results will determine which respondents may be connected to this investigation.

 

If you experienced symptoms of fever, diarrhea, or vomiting after visiting Tanganyika Wildlife Park on or after May 28, 2021 and have not completed the survey, please take the survey at https://tinyurl.com/kdhesplash. If you visit a healthcare facility, ask the medical provider to test your stool (feces).

 

If you live in Sedgwick County, and do not have access to a computer to complete the survey, contact the Sedgwick County Health Department via email at DiseaseReporting@sedgwick.gov or call 316-660-5558 and leave a message.

 

If you live outside of Sedgwick County and do not have access to a computer to complete the survey, please contact your local health department.

 

Update 6-22-21

Water samples were received by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) laboratory; results are expected next week.

 

Update 6-21-21

I have nothing new to report today.  However, I do know the health department is processing all the submissions.  We met with the county and other experts to review the filtration design.  Please keep those who are sick in your prayers.

 

Update 6-20-21

First, thank you to everyone that has posted, and our thoughts and prayers will be with those that are sick or recovering. Second, this situation has been evolving rapidly, and I am sharing information as I have it. We are not trying to cover anything up and are taking guidance from the Sedgwick County Health Department. My initial post was based on the limited information I had at the time and what I was allowed to share. I have been waiting to post and reply to comments until I had more specific guidance from the health department. Third, as a father whose kids have been playing in the splash park regularly and an uncle whose nephew is working in the splash park daily, I understand and share your safety concerns. It is in no one’s best interest, including our family-owned businesses, to have people getting sick due to visiting.

Here is what I can share as of now. I was notified late Friday afternoon by the county health department with some concerns of a possible connection of illness, and they wanted to take water samples. After further discussions with the health department toward the end of the day Saturday, I chose to voluntarily (and temporarily) close the splash park until I could ensure the safety of our visitors.

If your family has been ill after visiting Tanganyika, please see your doctor for treatment, and you can notify the health department at diseasereport@sedgwick.gov or leave a message on their hotline at 316-660-5555.

As we have more information, we will update it here and start to compile a list of FAQs.

Matt Fouts, Director

 

OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE

Those who experienced symptoms asked to take an online survey

 

(Sedgwick County, Kan.) – The Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) and the Sedgwick County Health Department are in the preliminary stages of investigating several individuals with diarrheal illness who had visited Tanganyika Wildlife Park. KDHE became aware of the possible link between the cases on Friday, June 18 and began investigation the same day. Tanganyika Wildlife Park voluntarily closed the Splash Park on June 18 immediately after learning of the illnesses.

 

If you experienced symptoms of fever, diarrhea or vomiting after visiting Tanganyika Wildlife Park on or after May 28, 2021, please take this survey at https://tinyurl.com/kdhesplash.

 

If you live in Sedgwick County, and do not have access to a computer to complete the survey, contact the Sedgwick County Health Department via email at DiseaseReporting@sedgwick.gov or call the COVID-19 line at 316-660-1022 (press 1 to leave a message). Sedgwick County is working to set up a separate, non-COVID phone line which will be released this week.

 

If you live outside of Sedgwick County and do not have access to a computer to complete the survey, please contact your local health department.

 

This is very early in the investigation. As KDHE and Sedgwick County continue to further investigate and work with Tanganyika Wildlife Park, updates will be provided to the public and patrons of the park.

 


FAQs

What Enhancements Did You Make to the Splash Park?

While the splash park was designed and built to meet codes set forth by the state of Kansas (Sedgwick County does not have any codes) and operated per CDC guidelines, we have used this time to make many enhancements to our processes and systems to make it even safer.  In fact, our system and procedures comply with the CDC’s Model Aquatic Health Code guidelines, considered to be the gold standard for aquatic facilities. Some of the enhancements include:
  • Adding a UL Certified Advanced Oxidation Process (AOP) Secondary Disinfection System which runs 24/7 along with the filtration and chlorination systems
  • Upgrading our automated chemical controller for 24/7 data logging, remote monitoring and push notifications for alarm conditions
  • Installing electrical safety interlocks that automatically shut down all the water features if the water quality falls outside of approved limits
  • Increasing training of our Support team
  • Increasing the number of certified Aquatic Facility Operators (AFO)
  • Hiring an independent Certified Pool Operator to audit our procedures and verify our water quality
  • Hiring an independent engineering firm to certify the system “as-built” complies with state code and the original, approved engineering drawings
  • Adding additional signage reminding guests of their duty to shower, maintain proper diaper hygiene for infants, and use only approved footwear inside the splash park

In addition, we worked with the county health department to complete a comprehensive list of recommendations as part of a Re-Opening Plan.  The plan included twenty-eight recommendations that were above and beyond what we are required to do per the state health code.

Finally, we have made enhancements to the area surrounding the splash park including additional sanitizer, more staff, etc.

 

Is the Smell of Chlorine at the Splash Park Bad?

The presence of free chlorine in the water will produce a true chlorine smell, like bleach. Everyone’s sense of smell is different, but in general humans can detect chlorine at a concentration of 0.002 ppm (parts per million) in the air, or about 0.31 ppm in water. The smell of actual chlorine in the air around a pool or water park is normal and healthy, and depending on the humidity, wind, how much water is splashing, the smell may be more or less pronounced even with a consistent level of free chlorine in the water itself. Back in the water, once the free chlorine does its work and combines with organic compounds like urine, sweat, and skin oils, it forms intermediate chemicals called disinfectant byproducts, specifically chloramines. Chloramines are one step in a chain reaction that ultimately breaks down organic compounds completely. Chloramines, especially trichloramine, have a stronger smell than free chlorine, at a much lower concentration. Chloramines are also disinfectants themselves capable of disrupting bacteria and viruses but are less effective than free chlorine. In fact, they are commonly added to municipal water supplies for their residual disinfection properties. A spike in chloramines (and a change in the smell) in a pool or water park environment is usually the result of a sudden heavy loading of contaminants being broken down by the chlorine, and not an indication that anything is wrong with the system. Since chloramines still provide residual sanitization properties, they are not bad to have in the water as long as the overall effectiveness of the free chlorine and chloramine is maintained.

 

 

What’s the Difference Between Sanitation & Filtration?

Filtration is the mechanical process of removing suspended particulate from the water such as dirt, dust, sand, hair, and other larger material as water is pumped through the filters and has no residual effect. Sanitization is a chemical process achieved by injecting sodium hypochlorite (commonly called chlorine) into the water after filtration. This chlorine residual, known as free chlorine, remains in the water and chemically breaks down or disrupts the function of bacteria and viruses that come into contact with the chlorinated water. Free chlorine also works to break down other less harmful but still annoying things like sweat, sunscreen, and lotions that people may introduce into the water.

 

 

I Saw a Picture of a Penguin in Your Splash Park. Do You Allow Animals in the Splash Park?

We do not allow animals in the splash park with the public.  That was a photoshoot we did with Paco the penguin a few weeks before the splash park opened to the public.  His keeper cleaned up after him, we power-washed the splash park after his visit, and ran chlorine over those areas for days prior to opening.    Also, it’s worth noting that Paco was not subject to anything harmful.  He only walked through a little water in front of two fountains.  None of the other features including the blue and green slides were running at the time.

 

 

What are Coliforms?

Coliforms are a group of bacteria naturally and commonly found in water, soil, plant material, as well as in the digestive tracts of humans and animals. According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control) and EPA (US Environmental Protection Agency), most of the time these bacteria are not harmful. Coliforms are usually present in larger numbers than more dangerous pathogens making them relatively easy to identify. As such, they are used as “indicators” when testing water sources because testing water for all possible disease-causing pathogens would be complex, time-consuming, and expensive.

There are three different groups of coliform bacteria, each with a different level of risk. The total coliform group is commonly found in the environment, so if only total coliform bacteria are detected in a sample, the source is probably environmental and the risk of illness is low. One subgroup of total coliforms are fecal coliforms; these bacteria appear in large quantities in the intestines of humans and animals and most strains are harmlessE. coli is a subgroup of fecal coliform; most E. coli bacteria are harmless, and only a few types are considered harmful.

 

 

Coliforms and E. coli Were Found in the Samples. Are they dangerous?

Coliforms are a group of bacteria naturally and commonly found in water, soil, plant material, as well as in the digestive tracts of humans and animals. According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control) and EPA (US Environmental Protection Agency), most of the time these bacteria are not harmful. E. coli (Escherichia coli) is a specific type of coliform bacteria naturally found in the intestines and fecal matter of humans and animals. Most strains of E. coli are harmless and are actually part of maintaining a healthy digestive system. There are six types that can cause illness with symptoms of severe stomach cramps, diarrhea, and vomiting. None of the harmful types were identified in the samples taken by the KDHE. 

While E. coli naturally exists in fecal matter and can therefore find its way into water sources, most E. coli outbreaks are caused by contaminated food like unwashed vegetables or undercooked meat. Illness from E. coli and other coliform bacteria can be prevented by washing hands thoroughly after using the bathroom or changing diapers; washing hands after contact with any animals (including pets at home); cooking meat thoroughly; avoiding unpasteurized milk and dairy products; avoiding swallowing water in public areas like lakes, ponds, and public pools; and preventing cross-contamination by thoroughly washing any items used in preparing raw meat for consumption.

Learn more at https://www.cdc.gov/ecoli/general/index.html

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