Whitewater Center to reopen channels this week, new cleaning process in place

- Officials at the U.S. National Whitewater Center (USNWC) expect to open kayaking and rafting channels to the public this week, now that that refilling process has been completed.

USNWC officials released a projected date of August 10, 2016.

The center began refilling its whitewater channels Friday after draining the water, which tested positive for a brain-eating amoeba last month.

Mecklenburg County public health workers were at the center Friday monitoring the refilling of the man-made kayak and raft channels.

At a press conference Monday afternoon, county health officials said a new system to chlorinate the water would be put in place. Dr. Marcus Plescia told reporters implementing the system is a “top priority.”

Related: Refilling process begins at U.S. National Whitewater Center

The Whitewater Center voluntarily shut down several weeks ago after an Ohio teen died from an amoeba after visiting the center in June.

Local and state health and environmental agencies, along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), worked with the USNWC to drain the existing water, clean the channels and advise the center on the development of a new system to filter the water and clean the concrete.  

Related: Ohio teen dies from brain-eating amoeba after visit to Whitewater Center

The water was drained into the Catawba River after being heavily chlorinated and dechlorinated. Sediment at the bottom of the channels, which health officials say is where the amoeba was mainly located, was scattered across an area above the center. The process would make it impossible for the amoeba to survive, according to health officials.

“We remain engaged with the whitewater center and will continue monitoring the situation to ensure that no imminent public health risk exists,” Dr. Plescia said Friday.

Related: What you should know about the brain-eating amoeba

Plescia said health officials would continue to monitor the chlorine levels at the whitewater center to make sure they stay at levels to eliminate the amoeba. Health officials will be on scene monitoring the levels once a week for the first month, according to Plescia. Visits will then go to twice a week before moving to once a month.

Plescia said the rafting channels would be opened to the public in the imminent future, but did not give an exact date.




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