USNWC Opening Rapids After Brain-Eating Amoeba Death
Health Department Confirms Chlorine Levels Effective
CHARLOTTE, NC — Rafting will resume at the U.S. National Whitewater Center Wednesday.
This comes less than two months after a brain eating amoeba in the water killed Ohio teenager, Lauren Seitz.
“It’s a tragedy,” said Jim Moser. “There’s no doubt about it.”
Moser helped clean and prepare the rapids.
He was there Tuesday afternoon when the Mecklenburg County Health Department said there’s enough chlorine in this water now to kill amoebas.
“We cleaned it up. I’ve been out there cleaning it up. The management has been out there cleaning it up,” said Moser.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention blame the facility’s filtration system for allowing the amoeba to thrive.
WCCB Charlotte asked the USNWC what’s different now. A spokesman replied in an email with a press release that states in addition to Chlorine and Ultraviolet Light, the facility now uses Ozonation to attack microorganisms.
To read the latest from the USNWC, click here.
“We will be monitoring them going forward,” said Health Department Director Dr. Marcus Plescia.
“The center has been cleaned and the water from Charlotte Water is clean tap water,” said Dr. Plescia. “If the new chlorine system works as it is designed to and the center cleans regularly to keep the algae and biomass from building up in the channels and pools, the risk of Amoeba being in the water is extremely low.”
The health department says for the remainder in 2016, workers will report chlorine levels to the county once a week in Aug., twice in September and once a month in Oct., Nov and. Dec.
After that it’s not clear what will be done.
The facility CEO Jeff Wise has yet to speak publicly about what happened this Summer.
WCCB Charlotte has e-mailed and called Wise multiple times since June. He has not responded.
Tuesday, WCCB Charlotte went to his house to ask what visitors should know before bringing family and spending money there.
No one answered the door.
The staff who talked with WCCB Charlotte reporters say re-opening is the right move.
“This is a large complex problem,” said Moser. “It does not have a simple solution.”
Neither the County nor the state of North Carolina currently monitors the USNWC. State legislators will have to pass a bill in order for the county to continue monitoring the private company’s water.
Rep. Bill Brawley authored a bill that was voted down in July. Still no word on drafting another bill.