We know it seems like all the magic of a sprayground is happening here… 

But it’s happening HERE… in the pump room! 


“In all honesty, we wish there was one big blue button at Park and Recreation headquarters that allowed us to turn water features on and off according to the forecast. That would make the job a whole lot easier! But, it’s a little more complicated than that.”

Nicole on spraygrounds in 2019 

Behind the Scenes: Sprayground Magic 

Spraygrounds, aka splash pads, are a concrete play area with spraying water. They also have drains so there’s no standing water. AND they’re fun for people of all ages. You know all that. But how does it work? Each sprayground has at least two pumps. At Clarks Creek, that’s these two beige things helpfully labeled “pump.” One or more pumps filters and treats the water to make sure it’s safe for us to play in. Those filter pumps run 24/7 until the season ends. We can call those the work pumps. The other pump(s), let’s call them the fun pumps, push the water out onto the spray area. The pumps also have strainers to filter out any debris like mulch that may have come down the drain with the water. 

While some of this process is handled by people, a lot is handled by machines. In fact, the pumps are set on a timer to make sure they come on right at 10 every morning and shut down at 8 every night. So your spray time is practically guaranteed! Still no big blue button, though. 

Pool Party But Make it Sprayground 

So how’s it like a pool? The water for the spray ground is held in an underground tank which is just like an underground swimming pool. It’s only accessed by our maintenance staff. The work pumps pull that water up, filter and treat it, then send it to the fun pumps. Then it drains to back below ground to start all over again. 

Because spraygrounds filter and recirculate the water, or send water back above ground over and over, they’re also treated like a swimming pool. That means they’re inspected by the Health Department. Maintenance staff takes a few weeks to get all of the spraygrounds up and running before the season starts. Then they visit spraygrounds at least once a day to take water samples and test them, also just like a pool, to make sure the water has the right range of pH and chlorine levels. They also make sure the play area is clean and safe and take care of any maintenance or small repairs to keep the spraygrounds running! 

Shut ‘Em Down 

Then at the end of the season (Labor Day), when the equipment is shut down for the last time, it’s all winterized for protection, draining the water right here. But we’re months away from that. Let the good times roll! 

Behind the scenes look inside the pump room!