Sewer-fouled splash pad prompts illness complaints

Sewage coming from a splash pad, similar to this one, has prompted reports of illness.

Officials say they've received about a dozen calls reporting illnesses after Traverse City's new $360,000 splash pad rained human waste-contaminated water on children following a sewer backup.

Gastrointestinal illnesses and one rash have been reported to the Grand Traverse County Health Department from people who played at the Clinch Park splash pad June 29 and June 30.

The department says the symptoms are consistent with exposure to raw sewage, but it isn't certain of a link to the splash pad.

City officials discovered the morning of June 30 that a sewer pump station failed, and sewage backed up and flowed into the 2,000-gallon water reservoir that feeds the park's fountains.

Officials have said the splash pad didn't have some permits that typically are needed.