Treated Water Discharged From Whitewater Center
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.
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.
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