Williamsburg waterpark, hotel will get new water supply, reopen by Monday

Properties closed since last Friday after E. coli bacteria found

Erin Jordan
Published: July 12 2012 | 1:00 pm - Updated: 31 March 2014 | 9:40 pm in

A Williamsburg hotel and waterpark closed Friday because of concerns about unsafe drinking water is connecting to another water supply and plans to reopen no later than Monday, according to a statement from the owner.

Clarion Inn owner Young Been Kim said in the statement that a test last week showing E. coli bacteria in well water that serves the hotel, waterpark and surrounding businesses was inaccurate.

"While the property was never the cause for E. coli claims, Kim continues to take all measures necessary to ensure the health and well-being of guests is paramount," the statement says. "The property’s voluntary shutdown remains in place until construction of the new pipeline is complete and all re-opening procedures have been thoroughly completed and approved by the required agencies."

Starting Tuesday, the hotel contracted with the Poweshiek Water Association to provide an alternate water source for the hotel and other businesses. The water association, based in Brooklyn, Ia., maintains 3,000 miles of distribution lines with emergency connections throughout central Iowa, according to its website.

The company's pipeline to the Clarion will be permanent, said Shelli Grapp, water quality bureau chief for the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

"The Clarion will abandon their well and treatment system," Grapp said. "My guess is this was the cheapest and/or fastest way to get the businesses back open."

The pipeline is expected to be complete Thursday, Grapp said. After disinfecting and flushing the system, there will need to be two sets of water tests to confirm safety of the water supply. The Iowa Department of Public Health and the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals may be able to reinspect the businesses by Saturday, officials said.

Kim said his business has lost $50,000 this week because of the closures of the hotel, waterpark and Seven Villages Restaurant, as well as the nearby Maid-Rite. The Casey's General Store, also owned by Kim, is open, but can't prepare food.

The closures started July 6, one day after Keystone Laboratories, which performs regular water tests for the Clarion, found E. coli  in the well water that serves the businesses. When the Iowa DNR returned to do more tests July 7 and 8, they found no E. coli. The DNR did find coliform bacteria, which indicated a problem with the water-treatment system, officials said.

Ken Sharp, environmental health division director for Iowa Department of Public Health, said earlier this week that the Johnson County Public Health Department decided to close down the Wasserbahn because of ongoing issues with chlorine imbalance and water clarity since Kim took over ownership of the businesses in October.

Hotel manager Renee Driscoll said Thursday that the waterpark has had minor issues, but has made corrections as quickly as possible. "We take care of things as fast as we can," she said.

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