Rigby’s Water World owners say water is safe after parasite complaints

If you've visited Rigby's from the time it opened until August 5th, the health department asks that you take a survey to help with their investigation.

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WARNER ROBINS, Georgia (41NBC/ WMGT) – Owners of a new water park in Middle Georgia say after receiving multiple health complaints of parasites, it is safe to swim again. The state is looking into what caused the diarrhea parasite to infest water.

Since the beginning of the month the Northern Central Health District has been working with Rigby’s Water World to get rid of the parasite known as Cryptosporidium. The parasite is resistant to normal chlorine levels.

“Cryptosporidium can occur in normal chlorinated levels, so it’s not that our chlorine was out of whack or PH was out of whack. That’s not the cause of it. The cause of it was that it was introduced to the water,” Rigby’s Water World General Manager Steve Brown said.

The Director of the North Central Health District, Michael Hokanson, says the water parasite can live in normal chlorinated levels. So to fight-off the parasite, Hokanson says they had to add more chlorine.

“Our environmental health specialist went out there. We made sure that hyper-chlorination had been done and that the chlorine levels had been taken back down to those regulation safe swim levels,” Hokanson said.

Rigby’s Water World General Manager Steve Brown says they can’t completely avoid the parasite from entering the water again.

“Just maintain our levels as we need to, based on the health department guidelines because to prevent it completely, patrons couldn’t swim in the water if you had the chlorine levels so high. It would be impossible to utilize the pool,” Brown said.

By educating the public on pool-hygiene, it can cut the risk of Cryptosporidum from reappearing.

“Not swimming if you’ve had diarrhea in the last two weeks, use good hygiene, take frequent bathroom breaks, change swim diapers often and shower,” Brown said.

Symptoms from the parasite are: diarrhea, stomach cramps, abdomen pain, vomiting and exhaustion.

Hokanson says it could take up to ten days to get rid of the parasite.

The director says the investigation of exactly how the parasite got into the pool is ongoing.
To help with the investigation, he says, take a survey if you visited Rigby’s Water World between the time it opened and August 5th.

Click here for the survey.

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Tanya comes all the way from Chicago, Illinois. She’s a city girl that’s excited to be a part of Middle Georgia’s community and tell your stories! She received a degree in Broadcast Journalism from Columbia College Chicago. She also spent a few semesters studying at San Diego State University. While in college, she interviewed Joan Rivers before she passed away, was on the red carpet for the movie premiere of “Chiraq” and also interned with ABC7’s investigative reporters and Bill Kurtis. Tanya spent nearly 2 years reporting in Billings, Montana where she covered a lot of politics and agriculture. In her spare time, Tanya is a sports fanatic, so even though the Chicago Bears and Bulls didn’t know how to win this season, she still roots for them. You can guarantee you’ll run into her at the gym every day. If you do, stop by and say hi! Share your stories with her and don’t be surprised if she’s hiding chocolate chip cookies in her gym bag.