How Arizona pools and water parks are confronting possible Crypto outbreaks

Posted at 7:52 PM, May 22, 2017

ABC15 has an exclusive first look at a new water filtration system designed to reduce the threat of Crypto at Wet'n'Wild in Phoenix.

In 2016, dozens of swimmers got sick after ingesting water containing Cryptosporidium, a parasite found in feces, at Valley pools. In response to public concern, Wet'n'Wild installed a ultraviolet sanitation filtration system for all its slides and pools during the offseason.

"It deactivates any pathogen in the water, including those that are chlorine-resistant," Wet'n'Wild spokeswoman Heather Austin said. Crypto is chlorine-resistant.

RELATED: Valley pools at risk for nasty bug called 'Crypto'

Austin said the new system cost $500,000, and it's used in addition to normal chlorination.

"It is a big investment, but I'm a mom myself," Austin said. "It's important that we're doing everything we can to help keep guests safe."

Tempe officials say their city pools also have UV filtration, and Scottsdale pool managers said they are planning to add UV later this year. 

Managers of Big Surf in Tempe said they are also making improvements to prevent the spread of disease at their water park. That includes an upgraded chlorination system.

"Our new systems are more capable of maintaining a perfect balance of chemicals in the water even under high bather load," said Rhett Pena from Big Surf in an email. "We also just ordered new secondary disinfection systems, that are expected to arrive tomorrow."

All pool operators who spoke to ABC15 said they need the help of patrons to keep Crypto out of the water.  They ask customers to shower before entering the pool, to make sure children get bathroom breaks, and not to change diapers near the water.

"We also doubled the amount of signs that advise guests with currently active diarrhea to stay out of the water," Pena said.