Opening Up Or Closing Down

A fun time in the water takes planning and maintenance.

Levi Biles of Grand Prairie, Texas, shuts his system down by draining and cleaning the storage tank, turning off all the equipment, and winterizing the pipes. General repairs to equipment or features sometimes are made during this time, but the majority of work is completed before starting up for the following spring/summer.

“We do not have policies set for the start-up of the equipment,” Biles relates. “We have operations manuals that give guidelines for starting up the system. If something doesn’t work or seem right, we contact the installers to troubleshoot problems or have them come out and fix what is needed. The basic start-up is re-cleaning the storage tank, attaching pipes back together, and turning on the system.”

Manufacturers and installers also play a significant role in splash-pad maintenance strategies. Terry Putnam, a sales representative of these products in Colorado, says the process of starting up a system can take up to three days.

“We send a technical specialist product/factory representative out to the site upon completion to do a thorough check and start-up of the systems, as well as train staff in the operation and maintenance of the equipment,” he says.

During this time, staff members are provided a comprehensive operations manual.

Those who have had great training are ahead of the game when it comes to closing down the system and preparing for the next season. However, what makes one efficient in a job is the ability to customize training, experience, and available resources.

Keep Track

To enhance efficiency as well as track repairs year after year, create a database of each activity. Not only will this help for organization, but it can also be a useful tool when creating the budget and time/task preparation strategy for the following year. Items to include in a database are:

• The item to be repaired

• How the item is repaired

• The cost to repair the item

• The time it takes for the repair

• The person who repairs the item (contractual or staff).

Keeping track of all repairs also will provide a solid indication of which items typically need replacing annually, biannually, or longer.

At the end of each season and a few weeks before starting up the system for a new season, contact any outside contractors who have previously worked on the facility, and speak with in-house maintenance crews as well. This helps to verify that the contractors you have used previously are still in business and that the facility is scheduled for repairs before the next season. Schedule in-house maintenance crews for any repairs they can conduct as well.

Helpful Tips

Every facility operator encounters unique obstacles and ideas of how to deal with maintenance. Here are some additional suggestions from Lohse:

• “There must be a way to consistently drain the spray pad. Our spray pad is only 15,000 gallons, so after one or two good rains, it begins to fill up the entire attraction. I installed a float-valve sump pump at the bottom of the pit.

Plan now for a fun summer at the splash pad.

• “Be prepared to change the batteries. Many of our features have buttons that control them. Some of the batteries last a month and some all summer. I would make sure to have many on hand.

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