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U.S. National Whitewater Center starts refilling rafting channels

The U.S. National Whitewater Center is refilling its man-made kayak and raft channels, though officials have not announced an exact date for when they will reopen.
The U.S. National Whitewater Center is refilling its man-made kayak and raft channels, though officials have not announced an exact date for when they will reopen. dtfoster@charlotteobserver.com

U.S. National Whitewater Center officials said the facility has started refilling its man-made kayak and raft channels, though they have not announced a reopening date for water activities.

The refilling is monitored by Mecklenburg County public health workers. Refilling these channels – which requires 12 million gallons of primarily Charlotte water – will take anywhere from two to four days, according to center officials.

The Whitewater Center drained about 6 million gallons of water into a tributary of the Catawba River on July 31. This came after the channels were tested to show significant amounts of Naegleria fowleri, the brain-eating amoeba that killed an Ohio teen after she visited the center in June.

Mecklenburg County said Public Health Director Dr. Marcus Plescia updated the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners on the current status of the work earlier this week. He also endorsed the center’s plan to maintain a level of chlorine high enough to make it impossible for the amoeba to survive.

Mecklenburg County Manager Dena Diorio said in a statement that the center is adding chlorine manually while adding the new water. There will be an automated chlorine system for the water before it is open to the public. The center remains open for non-aquatic activities.

“We remain engaged with the Whitewater center and will continue monitoring the situation to ensure that no imminent public health risk exists,” Plescia said in a statement Friday.

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