SEDGWICK COUNTY, Kan. (KSNW) – Sedgwick County announced Friday that Tanganyika Falls Splash Park in Goddard has exceeded the re-opening recommendations for splash park safety and will re-open this weekend.
According to a news release from Sedgwick County, 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 can be accessed here.
Tanganyika Splash Park shared the following message on its Facebook page Friday:
“I am THRILLED to inform you that the Tanganyika Falls Splash Park is opening Saturday, July 24th (tomorrow)!! We received a letter from the County Health Department verifying Tanganyika has “satisfied all requirements” and “there is no risk of infection.” In addition, we have made numerous enhancements to our system and processes. To learn more, check out our FAQ page (https://twpark.com/splash-park-updates).
We appreciate all the support we have received through this process and can’t express how much it means to the Tanganyika family. As a thank you, we will be extending the season for the splash park beyond Labor Day. As long as the weather holds out, we will have it open!
We hope to see you at Tanganyika Falls soon!”
The Splash Park has been closed since June 19. Eight people who visited 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.