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Shut-Down Hudson River Park Fountain Be Fixed, But Not in Time for Summer

By Mathew Katz | July 20, 2012 1:21pm

HELL'S KITCHEN — A popular play fountain that went dry last summer after the Health Department shut it off due to possible contamination will flow again — but not in time to cool kids during this summer's scorching heat.

The Hudson River Park fountain on Pier 84, located next to the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum, was cordoned off last year after the state Department of Health determined the fountain's water recyclers could not filter out Cryptosporidium, a tiny parasite that can cause diarrhea, cramps and vomiting. 

The fountain is set to be retrofitted with new filters to kill the bacteria — but not in time for visitors to cool off this season, a Parks Department spokesman said.

The Hudson River Park Trust, which oversees the fountain, voluntarily shut it down shortly after the Department of Health made the determination, though no incidents of the parasite were recorded at the site.

The cash-strapped park is set to get $488,000 from the city to retrofit the fountain with a UV filter, which can kill the bacteria. But the process of planning and engineering a fix — which will include getting approval from the state Department of Health — is a long one, a spokesman said, making it impossible for the fountain to reopen this summer.

The ground-mounted sprinkler system opened in 2006, less than a year before the state created new regulations requiring spray parks to have the filters, in response to a 2005 outbreak of Cryptosporidium at Seneca Lake State Park.