House lawmakers address water park amoeba

Posted June 28, 2016
Updated June 29, 2016

U.S. National Whitewater Center

— House lawmakers took last-minute action Tuesday to respond to the amoebic contamination of a Charlotte whitewater park that resulted in the death of a Ohio teenager who used the facility during a recent visit to the state.

The U.S. National Whitewater Center suspended all whitewater activities June 24 after testing by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found Naegleria fowleri contamination in the whitewater section of the park. Park officials are currently working with the CDC and local health experts to find the source of the contamination and design a plan to eradicate it. The rest of the center remains open.

Naegleria fowleri is an amoeba that attacks the brain. It is frequently found in warm freshwater lakes but rarely causes infections. According to the CDC, there have been 37 reported infections in the U.S. in the 10 years from 2006 to 2015.

Two Mecklenburg County Republicans, Rob Bryan and Bill Brawley, successfully added amendments Tuesday afternoon to House Bill 1074, a bill requiring schools and child care centers built before 1987 to test for lead in their water.

Brawley's amendment would add "water recreation attractions" to the state law requiring licensing and inspection of public pools.

Under current law, the center isn't treated as a public pool. Brawley called it a "stop gap" measure to allow more oversight while lawmakers consider whether more comprehensive regulation is needed.

Bryan's amendment would create the "House Select Study Committee on Health and Safety in Outdoor Water Recreation Attraction" to research the problem and submit recommendations for legislation by the end of 2016.

The measure now moves to the Senate.

Gov. Pat McCrory also called for additional oversight of water recreation parks in an interview in Charlotte Monday.


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