What's Buggin' You? Splash Park Water Waste

The new million dollar splash park in the city of Balch Springs is a big hit with many kids and parents. But some are questioning if it's a waste of water. What happens to the water after it hits the drain has some people concerned. It was bugging them, so they called FOX 4's Saul Garza.

The Walter Lueduke Park opened in 2014. It’s equipped with the splash pad, a playground, walking trail and even a small pond.

During the hot summer months the splash pad gets a lot of use. From 9 a.m. until 7 p.m. the water runs and runs and runs. According to the city, since the park opened in May 2014, it’s used nearly 13 million gallons of water. And where does all that water go?

“There’s an 8-inch pipe that goes out of this and directly into the pond,” said Charlene Rushing, a Balch Springs City Council member.

That’s right. The water runs from the splash pad directly into the park’s pond. None of it is recirculated or recycled.

“I had no clue they were dumping this into the pond,” said Ron Simon, a resident.

“It’s a lot of water being lost,” added Artist Hord, another resident.

In fact, 13 million gallons of water can fill 13 swimming pools that are the length of a football field, 50 feet wide and 10 feet deep.

“I’m a plumber. You’re wasting water. It’s a resource we don’t have,” Simon said.

Rushing was the only one on the council who would talk about the issue. She said the splash pad was built before she joined the council and she too doesn’t understand why city leaders didn’t opt for an environmentally-friendly park like other cities in North Texas.

“A city employee comes at 9 a.m. and turns it on and it’s supposed to be turned off at 7 p.m. Sometimes it is, sometimes it’s not. A lady said it was on at 11 at night the other night,” she said.

The splash pad is equipped with a couple of sensors. When no one is around it is supposed to shut off. But they’ve been broken now for about a year.

“They get us for watering the grass sometimes on days we’re not supposed to, but they’re doing it on a daily basis during the summer,” said Robert Martinez, a resident.

For now the splash pad is only operating on the weekends and it will be turned off completely during the winter.

A spokesman for the city said so far no one on the council has placed the item on the agenda for discussion.

If you have something that’s bugging you, call Saul at 214-468-7458 or e-mail saul.garza@foxtv.com.

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