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Spraygrounds require regular checking of chemical levels
Fun spots for kids maintained through detailed processes
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Bo and Molly Carson play in the water at Frances Meadows Aquatic Center on June 23. - photo by Erin O. Smith

Kayla Spurlock watched Monday afternoon as her daughter enjoyed the sprayground at Laurel Park. She takes Violet, who is 18 months old, about once a week to the area where she can play in the water spraying up from the ground.

They were at the sprayground with neighbor Trish Parker and her 2 «-year-old daughter, Eden.

Both mothers appreciate having such a recreational option near their Gainesville homes.

“This is perfect for the kids, and it’s great the county has it open during the season,” Parker said. “The price ($2) is great, and it’s safe and clean.”

The safe and clean part of the equation entails plenty of effort. Hall County spokeswoman Katie Crumley said county workers check pH and chlorine levels two to three times per day, while also once or twice a week testing the water more vigorously at Gainesville Janitorial.

If the water needs chemical adjustments, the county purchases them at Gainesville Janitorial. Crumley said a sand filter and chlorine pump, which the county puts tablets in, also help keep the water clean. Periodic inspections make sure wires aren’t close to water and the padding in the sprayground doesn’t have safety hazards.

Spurlock said the Laurel Park sprayground has a little something for younger and older kids.

“You don’t usually see this in most parks,” Spurlock said. “It’s very convenient.”

Parker said the low price means she can spend 45 minutes or an hour at the sprayground, not worry as much about sunburn and feel like she’s still getting a good value.

“It wears them out, which is great,” Parker said.

A sprayground at Veterans Park in downtown Lula also has a precise method for making sure its chlorinated water maintains healthy chemical levels. An underground vault controls the filtering of water through an automated process.

James Merritt and Ben Ivester, employees for the city of Lula, clean the filters each morning for about 45 minutes to make sure the process runs smoothly.

They step into the underground vault, something of a control room, where they can see the readings of bromine and pH levels on a digital monitor. Merritt and Ivester can also verify the readings by using a test strip in a cup of the water.

Lula City Manager Dennis Bergin said the machine that regulates the chlorine levels even adjusts to account for water evaporation due to heat.

The sprayground in Lula has been operating for about six years.

A portion of Frances Meadows Aquatic Center’s Splash Zone pool area is similar to a sprayground. Meghan Modisette said the center checks chlorine and pH every two hours in its pools and monitors backwash every two to three hours, depending on what gauges in the pools’ pump room say.

Head lifeguards and the operations supervisor check the chlorine and pH levels, and the health department inspects Frances Meadows’ pools twice a year, right before opening and then another random check.

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