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Treated Water Discharged From Whitewater Center

Water flowed out of the whitewater center basin and into a nearby wetland.
Mecklenburg County
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Water flowed out of the whitewater center basin and into a nearby wetland.

Contractors over the weekend finished treating and discharging water at the U.S. National Whitewater Center. The center's rafting channel closed after an Ohio woman died after being exposed to what's being called a "brain-eating ameba."

Workers began releasing about 6.3 million gallons of treated water Saturday morning. By Sunday morning, most had flowed into a wetland just north of the center's whitewater basin.

"Now that the water is discharged, the basin can be cleaned so that the Whitewater Center starts literally with a clean slate," said Catawba Riverkeeper Sam Perkins, who helped develop the cleanup plan.  

worker collects water for testing
Credit Mecklenburg County
A worker collects water for testing as it flows through a wetland near the U.S. National Whitewater Center on Saturday.

The water was treated with a massive dose of chlorine, to kill the ameba and any other biological contaminants. The water was treated again to remove the chlorine, then released. The water now is flowing through the wetland and into the Catawba River.

“We wanted to make sure there was not too much residual chlorine and that there was plenty of dissolved oxygen. We didn't want to kill the ameba and then induce a fish kill downstream,” Perkins said.

The ameba found at the Whitewater Center is a common one ... and in most cases safe. But if it gets up your nose, it can cause a fatal brain infection. That's what happened to the Ohio woman, whose only known exposure was at the Whitewater Center.

Center officials also are planning to remove sediment from the pond and clean the whitewater channel. They haven't announced when rafting will resume but said last week it could come "shortly after" the cleanup process is completed.

A center spokesman had said he had no new information Monday afternoon. 

RELATED LINKS

See the U.S. National Whitewater Center's latest updates on the water treatment process, USNWC.org

Read the full water treatment and discharge plan on the Mecklenburg County website, Charmeck.org

Water level at the U.S. National Whitewater Center basin began to fall as the water was discharged. The center will remove sediment and clean the basin before it reopens the rafting channel. The rest of the center remains open.
Credit Mecklenburg County
Water level at the U.S. National Whitewater Center basin began to fall as the water was discharged. The center will remove sediment and clean the basin before it reopens the rafting channel. The rest of the center remains open.