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updated: 6/1/2011 9:55 AM

Safety concerns close Itasca wading pool

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  • Concerns about the safety of two drain covers has forced Itasca Park District to close the wading pool at its water park.

      Concerns about the safety of two drain covers has forced Itasca Park District to close the wading pool at its water park.
    Daily Herald file photo


Itasca Water Park is going into the summer swim season without one of its key features.

A 5,000-square-foot wading pool geared for parents with small children will stay closed until further notice because it has two drain covers named in a voluntary product safety recall. The rest of the water park opened Monday.

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Maryfran Leno, Itasca Park District executive director, said officials learned over the holiday weekend that Lawson Aquatics was recalling pool drain covers sold nationwide. The covers were incorrectly rated to handle the flow of water, which could pose an entrapment hazard to swimmers.

Leno said the recall means the popular interactive family pool can't open until Lawson sends the district replacement drain covers that have been approved by the federal government.

"We were told it could take anywhere from two days to who knows," she said. "It could take through the whole summer."

While the remainder of the water park will be open, the closure of the wading pool is expected to have a devastating impact on the entire facility.

The wading pool is "one of biggest features at the water park," Leno said. The wading pool goes from zero to 18 inches in depth and has several pieces of interactive equipment, including slides, sprays and a raindrop umbrella fountain.

"We do all of our birthday parties in that pool," Leno said. "It's geared toward kids that are 5 years old and younger. The longer it's going to take to fix, the worse it's going to be."

The wading pool has been very popular since it debuted in 2000. The recalled pool drain covers were installed in 2009.

Leno said Lawson Aquatics announced its recall after the U.S. Product Safety Commission on Thursday announced the voluntary recall by eight manufacturers.

The agency said the recalled covers -- manufactured between December 2008 and April 2011 -- could pose a possible entrapment hazard to swimmers and bathers, no injuries have been reported.

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