Big Problems at Big Kahunas: Is the Water Quality Safe and Sanitary?


A popular water park in the Panhandle has been under investigation. Reports of unacceptable sanitation levels are at the center of the problem.

Big Kahunas, located in the heart of Destin, usually attracts hundreds of visitors everyday but for the past two days, one of their main attractions has been closed to the public.

It all started with a complaint from a woman who says that she got sick after swimming at the park.

According to the Okaloosa County Health Department, on Monday the water in the Lazy River was tested, showing sanitation levels and pH levels were lower than the requirement. Low sanitizer levels promote the growth of bacteria, which can make someone sick.

A second test was taken on Tuesday, showing similar results.

According to Big Kahuna officials, the water levels were tested for a third time Wednesday and they are compliant and the Lazy River is safe and open.

Official statement by the Okaloosa County Health Department:

“Okaloosa County Health Department received a complaint about the water quality at Big Kahunas Water and Adventure Park Lazy River which prompted an investigation. Staff went to the park to complete an inspection and tested the water on Monday. The sanitizer levels and pH levels were lower than required by Florida Administrative Code prompting the closure of the Lazy River. Staff returned Tuesday to re-test the water and found the pH tested at an acceptable level, but the sanitizer levels were still below the required level. This caused the Lazy River to remain closed. Staff will re-inspect the Lazy River again today. Low sanitizer levels may inhibit the growth of bacteria that could make someone sick,” said Allison McDaniel, Public Relations.

Official statement from Big Kahunas:

“The health and safety of our guests and team members is our first priority. Water quality is tested daily by park personnel, who are state-certified pool operators and periodically by a third-party lab to ensure that it meets the highest standards. A Florida Department of Health Inspector tested the water at the lazy river yesterday, which he found to be deficient in bromine. The pool was tested today jointly by the Health Inspector and certified park personnel. It was found to be compliant,” said Stefani Rash, Marketing Manager at Big Kahunas.

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