The Liz Carpenter Fountain in Butler Park is a victim of its own success. Austin Parks and Recreation assistant director Kelly Snook says when the splash fountain was first installed three years ago, they never expected that 400 to 1,000 people a day would use it.
"We've had many, many more bathers than we anticipated. The existing filtration system, pump and all the equipment is simply not large enough to accommodate the capacity," Snook told KUT News.
Parks and Rec temporarily closed the fountain this summer because a pipe broke and the filtration system failed. That put the children who play in the fountain at risk of getting sick from bacteria like cryptosporidium.
The fountain was reopened in June, but it still closes on Monday and Tuesday every week so that city workers can spend all day cleaning the filters.
Renovations will do away with that need for constant manual cleaning. The repairs will start in January and last until May.
"Basically, we're replacing the filtration system and including a UV disinfectant system, as well as increased filter sizes," Snook said. "We're increasing the size of the vault, because all of this equipment is underground. That accounts for a pretty significant cost when you have to do that kind of work. We're also increasing the utility lines to get service to the site."
Total cost of the project is about $1.1 million. Snook says the funds have already been allocated by the city.