Feature Article - September 2013
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Trickle Down Theory

Boosting Waterpark Fun to Grow Revenues, Build Community

By Rick Dandes

Maintenance Is Key

Think of how an attraction can be accessed for maintenance and if special training is required before it is built.

Looking at lifecycle costs from a design perspective, don't automatically think that a particular kind of filter is best simply because it is the kind of filter you've had in the pool for the past four years and it works. These days, people are thinking more in terms of what might work better over a 20-year lifecycle and what makes more sense. Take saline systems, for example. There are new saline systems that are four to five times more expensive on the front end than a similar-sized chlorine unit would be, but the ones that regenerate naturally on their own over a 20-year lifecycle can save you lots of money. When putting together your maintenance staff, make sure there is someone who knows what they are doing so that they can take care of the specific equipment you choose for your facility.

As with any mechanical/electrical system, Colvin said, the water treatment system must be well maintained. It is essential to follow manufacturers' recommendations for preventative maintenance and repair of damaged equipment.

"One of the most common occurrences is poorly sealed and poorly ventilated chemical tanks releasing vapors that corrode everything around them. The same conditions usually apply for the public spaces, decks, pool finishes, railings, slide flumes, skimmers and so on. A lack of attention to details will lead to costly replacement before the true service life is reached."

There are several other maintenance issues to consider when operating a park, McIntyre explained. The first is the maintenance of your attractions. This includes making sure all pumps, motors and chemical controllers are in the proper working condition. "Some-times these will go down without any warning," he said, "So, my suggestion is to have a backup for each if you can. This will allow you to get up and operational again quickly. You must also take into consideration the maintenance of the slides. Make sure they are buffed and polished on a regular schedule to help prolong the life of the slide. On top of all the attractions, you cannot forget about your other buildings, from water heaters, furnaces and air conditioners to fridges and freezers. It is important to have a plan in place so all the scheduled maintenance gets done on schedule." If any of these items fails, it could cripple your operation.

Loose offers some additional advice: Think of how an attraction can be accessed for maintenance and if special training is required before it is built, he said. "Constantly monitor water quality. And your operators should maintain rigorous safety inspections of attractions."