Should NLand Surf Park in Austin, Texas, be regulated as a swimming pool? That’s at the heart of two lawsuits filed last week between the surf park and Travis County, Texas.
NLand Surf Park (Austin Park LLC) filed a federal lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas on July 13. Travis County commissioners, who had voted to file a lawsuit against NLand Surf Park the previous week, followed through with its lawsuit against the company the next day in county district court, the Austin American-Statesman reported.
NLand Surf Park broke ground in April 2015 three miles east of Austin-Bergstrom International Airport and is scheduled to open later this year. The 160-acre park is about the size of nine football fields, or about 45 times larger than an Olympic-size swimming pool. The company says the lagoon will feature one-, four- and six-foot waves every 60 seconds with a surfing experience of 35 seconds per wave.
NLand Surf Park’s filtration system will circulate the lagoon’s entire water volume every 17 hours. Texas state law requires pools to filter water every six hours. NLand Surf Park says it could filter water in six hours, but only if it uses pumps large enough to suck in swimmers, the newspaper reported.
“Compliance with the six-hour turnover requirement would actually endanger individuals in the lagoon,” the NLand Surf Park lawsuit says.
In short, NLand Surf Park claims it should not be compliant with state regulations for public swimming pools. The definition of a public swimming pool, the company claims in the suit, “is ambiguous and could apply to myriad man-made bodies of water used for recreation in Travis County, Texas, including Barton Springs Pool, Lake Austin and Lady Bird Lake.” The company also said its investors have poured “millions” into the project and it has “suffered economic and actual damages, including future revenue.”
Travis County says NLand Surf Park is building a public swimming pool without following public health engineering practices mandated by the Texas Health and Safety Code.
“Travis County has worked with Austin Park for more than two years to bring the pool into compliance with the law,” the country said in its lawsuit. “Despite Travis County’s best efforts, Austin Park has repeatedly failed to comply with state law. Accordingly, Travis County asks the court to prevent Austin Park from opening the pool to the public until it complies with the Texas Health and Safety Code.”