Inspectors Check Out Tulsa's Big Splash Water Park

Tuesday, May 19th 2009, 8:03 am
By: News On 6

By Jeffrey Smith, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- State Department of Labor inspectors were busy Tuesday checking Big Splash Water Park before it opens for the season.

Several inspectors were on site Tuesday, looking for any safety violations.

Officials with The Department of Labor say a winter inspection uncovered several safety hazards, but Big Splash's owner says they're now ready to go.

The water park at 21st and Yale is set to open Saturday morning and will be celebrating 25 years of fun in the sun, but it's the last one that caught the eye of state inspectors.

"When people come out they enjoy themselves without the fear of anything breaking down, that's the main thing," said Lloyd Fields, State Labor Commissioner.

In December 2007, Big Splash was ordered to repair rotten structural beams. An investigation by The News On 6 uncovered those repairs weren't made before the park opened last summer.

The park's owner called it an oversight.

"By no means would I want any customer to come out to Big Splash and, as I said earlier, even stub a toe," said Loretta Murphy, Big Splash owner.

6/23/2008 Related story: Big Splash Owner Offers Apology

The Department of Labor inspects water parks twice a year before a park opens - a winter test and a summer test.

This winter, they reported three beams on the Flume Tower were rotted and needed to be replaced.

"We understood what their expectations were and we want to do everything 100% by the book, and I feel like we have," said Murphy.

Loretta Murphy says she made those changes. Plus, she says she changed out three additional beams as a precaution.

"They walked through that list, checked it once, checked it twice, and made sure they complied with what we asked them to do," said Fields.

Murphy didn't allow media into the park to see the inspections.

The News On 6 flew SKYNEWS 6 over the park.

Murphy says this week she's concentrating on more updates, like new signs and paint around the pool.

"Safety is our number one concern," said Murphy.

The Labor Commissioner says the inspection results will be made public on Wednesday. This is the second year that department has been responsible for water park inspections. Starting next summer, they'll also be responsible for testing the water.