CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Officials at the U.S. National Whitewater Center reopened rafting activities Wednesday, two months after shutting down after an Ohio teenager died from a brain-eating amoeba days after visiting the center.
The facility will now focus on filtration with a spin-disc filtration system to keep the water clear.
There will be a new chlorine injection system in addition to the UV system and a new ozonation process to disinfect the water.
The center said it's virtually unheard of for any facility to use three overlapping systems to disinfect water.
Most of the people Channel 9 spoke with said they are confident it is safe to get back in the water.
“We are season pass holders for the last five years and we are very, very glad that it's open,” said Angela Felts.
Millions of gallons of city water poured into the rafting channels at the Whitewater Center Monday.
The water came from the city water system and is also being treated with additional chlorine from a new sanitation system installed over the weekend.
“The system is designed to create an environment the amoeba can't live in,” Dr. Marcus Plescia, Mecklenburg County health director, said. “The idea is if chlorination reaches the levels we're all targeting and they keep the sediment from forming at the bottom and there will not be any amoeba there."
Plescia said Monday that he was pleased with the cooperation he’s received from the Whitewater Center and acknowledged that work still needs to be done to finalize an ongoing monitoring system that will check water quality independent of the Whitewater Center’s own systems.
County leaders will discuss those plans in the future.
Commissioner Jim Puckett said he’s satisfied as long as the county is allowed ongoing access to check the water.
“As long as they will allow the Health Department to come in as Dr. Plescia feels is necessary I don’t have a huge concern in the short run,” Puckett said.
County officials said they will monitor water weekly during the month of August and every two weeks in September before transitioning to monthly tests.
Whitewater Center officials said it will share more on its sanitation systems in the near future.
The center isn’t saying exactly when it will reopen rafting operations but a fact sheet provided by Mecklenburg County said the projected date for rafting to be available to the public is Wednesday.
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Cox Media Group