Choose the Right Splash Pad Mechanical System

Splash Play
Photo Courtesy of AquaWorx

A comprehensive splash pad typically includes a variety of water toys and ground sprays with different flow rates.

Splash pads with numerous features require a significant amount of water, and agencies need to determine the most suitable system for their facility: a potable flow-through system or a recirculating filtration system.

Potable flow-through systems connect the splash pad’s pipeline to the city’s water supply. After the water drains off the pad, it either goes into the sewer system or gets repurposed. While cost-effective, this option raises concerns due to the substantial water volume required for larger splash pads. In regions experiencing water shortages, agencies are exploring alternatives for water use, reuse and disposal.

Recirculating filtration systems work similarly to swimming pools, filtering and sanitizing water within an underground storage reservoir. However, water in these systems needs regular re-sanitization before returning to the pad, with treatment requirements dictated by state regulations, including UV and chlorine. Proper chemical maintenance is essential to safety.

While considering the environmental impact of water usage is crucial, agencies must also evaluate the play value provided by different systems. Potable systems may have limitations due to restricted supply, resulting in dead areas where no sprayers are active. In contrast, recirculating systems utilize a large collector tank that exceeds the pad’s flow rate, enabling water to be pumped through more than 80% of the features simultaneously. This is particularly beneficial for splash pads aiming to incorporate “big water” features like dumping buckets and sprayers.

Both systems have advantages and disadvantages, and agencies should
consider the community’s needs. Potable flow-through systems are suitable for small, sequenced splash pads but have limitations in terms of bather load and potential dead zones. A recirculating system works best for expansive, all-encompassing splash pads with multiple features. These dynamic water play spaces, with both high-flow and low-flow nozzles, are invaluable assets and are growing in popularity. Therefore, recirculating filtration systems offer the perfect solution for creating expansive and captivating splash pads, ensuring optimal play value and enjoyment while efficiently managing water resources and maintaining safety standards.


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