No harm in a spray park slurp

Salmon Arm's public works manager John Rosenberg says there is no circular water system in play at the splash park.

Taste test: Water at the city spray park is safe if ingested.

Taste test: Water at the city spray park is safe if ingested.

Spend enough time at the Fletcher Park splash park and there’s a chance you’ll hear a concerned parent tell their kid, “don’t drink the water, it’s recycled.”

That might be true, to a degree, as Salmon Arm’s water is piped from and returns to Shuswap Lake. But city public works manager John Rosenberg says there is no circular water system in play at the splash park. The spray apparatus pumps out potable water, and the drains carry the water to the city’s storm drain system. That said, Rosenberg still doesn’t recommend that kids drink the water.

“It’s kind of like should kids drink from a garden hose? It’s coming from your house, which is potable water, but a garden hose isn’t meant to be drunk from, it’s meant to water your lawn,” says Rosenberg. “It’s the same thing with Fletcher Park – it’s potable water, it’s not recycled.

It’s the main water feed; the water that feeds that park is the same water that you drink that comes to your home. But it’s going through spray apparatus and so on. It’s not treated in any way.

Rosenberg says the city is guided by the health authority, and adds the splash park is bleached twice a year for sanitization.

“Let’s put it this way, I’d rather see a kid drinking from that water park than drink the lake water directly at the beach.”