Twice The Use

Choosing a flow-through system was very attractive because it saved costs with both construction and operations. The main cost of the latter was water usage. Since the city already had a working well, why not continue to put it to work for an additional activity? It was another selling point to the public as well, that water wasn’t just going down the drain.

Alternative To Recirculation

In this enlightened time of saving natural resources, staff members pushed to get extra use from the flow-through system. In a nutshell, a unique plumbing system that incorporates well water (approximately 75 percent) and city water supplies the splash pad, and then that water immediately drains into the swim pond.

Currently, the city water is used only to supplement the gallons per minute needed to supply water to the play features. Recently, a test well was introduced, and city officials are contemplating digging a brand-new well that will provide all of the water needed for the splash pad; however, city water currently serves as a convenient backup in case the well pump does not operate for any reason, so a decision has not yet been made.

Health Concerns

One of the biggest concerns using the dual-use approach was the health of patrons. Would the “double use” of the same water be a problem? After much research, no issues were found with sending the splash-pad water into the fairly large swim pond. New well-water is pumped in each day, and the pond is treated with natural enzymes (but not chlorine) to assist with algae and other potential swim-related illnesses every two weeks. Despite the unusally warm summer, there were no health issues at the beach.


Another obstacle was the storage of the plumbing/mechanicals and their cost. The typical large box near the pad and combination picnic-shelter/mechanical building ideas were explored, but they would take up more green space and cost more money.

Suddenly, bad luck turned good. Because of poor structural soils in the intended pad location, the city was forced to move farther east on the property and within range of the 75 year-old bandstand, which just happened to have a huge “bomb-shelter-style” basement used for storing equipment from 30 years ago with no other intended use.

This reuse of the bandstand had a silver lining in the soil issue. It also saved a great deal of money, time and green space.

Possible Drawbacks

The only drawback with the flow-through system is that, according to the State Department of Commerce, water usage needs to be limited to 50,000 gallons per day. The splash-pad system is programmed to operate during the peak times of the day (noon to 5:00 p.m.). As much as there is a desire to keep the pad open longer, the residents have accepted it, especially considering the water usage.

Community Success

Thanks to hardworking and talented staff members and a very supportive community, the splash pad and renovated swim beach have doubled the average revenue of the last 25 years, and attendance is the highest at the park in 27 years! But the greatest success is seeing the miles of smiles and hearing the squeals of delight as kids enjoy the Rotary Splashpad.

Each community is unique and what worked best for us won’t necessarily work best for the next community. Hopefully, this story sparks some innovation that lets uniqueness flow through.

Craig Hoeppner is the director of West Bend’s Parks, Recreation & Forestry department. He can be reached at (262) 335-5081, or via e-mail at

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Related posts:

  1. Spray On
  2. From Splash Pad To Sprinkler
  3. Day-Camp Excursions
  4. Making Water Work
  5. The Anatomy Of A Splash Pad

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