US National Whitewater Center Rapids Closed Until After Inspection

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Mecklenburg County health officials held a news conference at the Hal Marshall Annex in Uptown Charlotte Friday morning, detailing how they are working together to get the outdoor recreation and athletic training facility open to the public.

Lisa Corbitt, program manager for Mecklenburg County Groundwater and Wastewater Services (GWS), said they’ve been reviewing the USNWC application since they received it on February 23rd, which has included visits to the site where part of the installation of new water treatment systems is still being finalized. Once the review of the application is complete, GWS can then inspect the rapids system. If the system passes code, an operation permit can be issued and the rapids can be opened to the public.

There isn’t a timeline for this process to be completed. Corbitt said the rapids definitely won’t be open to the public today or tomorrow, later adding it could be 2 days or 2 weeks, they really can’t determine how long it will take. The USNWC was scheduled to have a Raft Guide School Saturday and the 7th annual Green River Revival event a week later on March 11, where the water is turned green for St. Patrick’s Day. The USNWC can still open; the permit process does not affect any activities that don’t use the rapids system.

After the news conference, the USNWC released the following statement: “The U.S. National Whitewater Center is working closely with Mecklenburg County officials through the newly established permitting and inspection process. We have filed all the necessary paperwork with Mecklenburg County, and at this time, are awaiting their next steps as they work diligently through this new process. Whitewater activities will resume as soon as we have officially received the permit.”

In June, 2016 a brain-eating amoeba in the USNWC rapids system killed an Ohio teenager. In October, County Commissioners unanimously voted to give the Health Department oversight of the facility, which includes getting the yearly permit. The Health Department will also inspect the water 4 times a year and the USNWC must inspect the water themselves twice a day.