DESTIN — The lazy river at Big Kahuna's Water and Adventure Park has been closed since Monday after water quality tests by the Okaloosa County Health Department revealed unsatisfactory conditions.
According to Trisha Dall, Okaloosa County's environmental health section chief, the Health Department received a complaint about the water quality, which prompted an investigation. Dall said officials went to the park, where they do regular inspections, and tested the water Monday.
"The sanitizer level was lower than what it needed to be for the lazy river and the PH (acidity level) was off," Dall said. "So, those two things close the pool because we don't want somebody to get sick."
When inspectors returned Tuesday, the PH tested at an acceptable level but sanitizer levels were below the required measure, which caused the lazy river to remain closed, Dall said.
Dall said the department will visit again today to test the water, and Big Kahuna's will be required to pay a re-inspection fee.
Paul Gould, general manager of Big Kahuna's, issued a statement Tuesday about the closing.
"The health and safety of our guests and team members is our first priority," Gould said in an email. "Water quality is tested daily by park personnel, who are state certified pool operators, and periodically by a third party lab to ensure that it meets the highest standards," Gould said.
"A Florida Department of Health Inspector tested the water at the lazy river today, which he found to be deficient in bromine. The pool will be tested jointly tomorrow by the Health Inspector and certified park personnel," Gould continued.
Kelly Somma said her family visited the water park July 6 for her daughter's birthday. The morning after their visit, Somma said she became extremely ill.
"I was trying to figure out what in the world happened because I was the only one sick," Somma said.
Somma said she then remembered swallowing water as she went down a slide at Big Kahuna's.
Somma said she went to the doctor July 10 and was told she had an infection caused by ingesting E. Coli. E. Coli is a bacteria found in the digestive tracts of warm-blooded organisms.
Somma said she called the Health Department last week to complain about the water quality at Big Kahuna's, which she believes caused her illness.
Somma said Tuesday that she feels better.
"I'm good now. I'm actually on my last day of antibiotics," she said.