By Blake Theisen, PLA
As fall cools down the northern tier of the United States, it’s time to put away the summer toys, both at home and at public parks and playgrounds. The turf in baseball and softball fields gets touched up, concession stands get a final wipedown, and splashpads get tucked in tight.
Splashpads – also known as spray parks and aquatic playgrounds – are one of the hottest new summer recreation activities nationwide, and for good reason. They provide safe water fun with low operational and maintenance costs. As noted in our previous splashpad blog post, splashpads use one of two water systems:
1. A flow-through system involves draining water to the municipal stormwater or wastewater collection and treatment system.
2. A recirculation system drains water used in the splashpad to an on-site storage and treatment tank and then recirculates the water back through the water features after being filtered and disinfected.
Basic Splashpad Winterization Tips
Both systems require basic maintenance to make sure they’re ready to go when the days get long and hot again. Here are some basic winterization tips:
- Follow your user manual. Every splashpad system comes with a user manual that should provide step-by-step instructions to start your system as well as shut it down. Following the directions is always a good place to start.
- Clean chemical reservoirs and dispose of any chemicals correctly.
- Drain all pipes, clear any debris traps, and clean deck drains. Clean any hard water deposits.
- Inspect as you clean. What needs a little grease? What needs tightening? What needs replacement?
- Shut off the main water supply. Make sure you don’t have any leaks that will turn a summer splashpad into a winter slip-and-fall pad.
Proper winterization and inspection helps avoid unpleasant surprises next spring – like broken pipes, corroded chemical reservoirs, or plugged drains. Winterizing a splashpad should be part of a community’s regular winter maintenance for seasonal park and playground facilities like irrigation systems, shelter/restroom draindowns, and drinking fountains.
With the proper seasonal maintenance, your splashpad will last longer and be ready to go when temperatures get back into the 80s in a few months and the splash mob returns.
Blake Theisen is a project manager and landscape architect who has designed 18 splashpads, including facilities in Wisconsin, Indiana, Illinois, and soon Arizona.