Local and state officials asked a lot of questions, and the company didn't have answers. Maybe next year, it says.
Slide the City, an event agency that rolls out 1,000-foot vinyl water slides in cities across the country, will not be coming to Seattle, Spokane and the Tri-Cities this summer because the company didn’t obtain necessary approval from county and state departments of health.
Health officials confirmed Wednesday the touring company didn’t submit adequate materials outlining its safety standards, water quality and drainage methods to receive permission to host the large slip-and-slide events that require road closures and typically attract thousands of attendees.
Slide the City organizer Amy Gessel said the company removed the cities from its tour to gain the necessary time to address the health departments’ questions and obtain permits for next year. The water-slide events had been scheduled for mid-August, she said.
Marquise Allen, spokesman for the state Department of Health, said his agency contacted Slide the City in February to start the permitting process. The company submitted an application July 7 to host an event on Lee Boulevard in Richland, he said, and did not provide materials for Seattle or Spokane.
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After reviewing the application, the state health department had questions regarding the water’s level of chlorine and ability to prevent illness, the safety of a portion of the slide that allows multiple people and the company’s plans for treating water before it empties into a Columbia River storm drain.
In a July 9 letter, the department asked for clarification on contamination, water-pressure levels and what hours and day the company hoped to plan the event.
King County health authorities, as well as officials from other jurisdictions, worked with the state department to evaluate the water-slide proposals.
Becky Elias, food and facilities section manager for Public Health — Seattle & King County, said Slide the City didn’t submit a complete application to the county that includes information on slide facilities, nor the required payment for processing the request.
“When you’re planning an event of this size, when members of the public are flying down the street, it’s important to follow code,” said Hilary Karasz, a spokeswoman for Public Health — Seattle & King County.
Since its 30-state and seven-country tour began last year, Gessel said, health departments in Washington are the first to present so many questions and delay the event.