Feature Article - April 2011
Find a printable version here

Puddle-Loving Fun

New Developments in Sprayground Design

By Deborah L. Vence

Finally, the fourth feature involves controller communications and remote accessibility.

"We can access this controller from Ashland. We can turn it on by a smartphone," Williams said.

With the controller-initiated communication and remote accessibility feature, a sprayground can be controlled remotely using e-mail, a streaming webcam or text messaging. This allows for real-time status alerts about water quality, usage, backwash frequency and malfunction reports. Remote accessibility also enables easy access for technicians to fix problems outside of the scope of day-to-day maintenance technicians. The facility must have Internet access, though, in order for this to work.

To further address water treatment design, Forrest added that most aquatic play pad projects are "now using skid-mounted above grade WTS units. Due to confined space issues, ventilation, local regulations, etc., it is more practical to house the WTS within a vented building or kiosk."

"The WTS should be designed so that the programming of the pad can be changed [increase the number of valves (water features) on at once] without replacing pumps, etc. This is especially important to accommodate peak operating hours or special events where the programming is adjusted to suit the client's needs," Forrest said.

Meanwhile, "the use of UV in addition to traditional chlorine disinfection is quickly being adopted as the standard by health departments across North America. UV is the most effective means of killing recreational water-borne illnesses within aquatic play pads. The UV units must also be medium pressure, third part validated to be approved by most health departments," he said.

And, "Adding a diverter and strainer system between the aquatic play pad and the collection tank will greatly reduce the amount of unnecessary filtering, chemical balancing and power use due to water entering the tank during non-operational hours," Forrest added. "These can be operated by the main sequencing controller and will result in lower overall operating expenses."