By: Sutton StokesApril 3, 2020

Riverbend Park Closed to the Public Until Further Notice

Elkins W. Va., April 3, 2020: Riverbend Park in Elkins will be closed to the public until further notice, City of Elkins and Elkins Parks and Recreation Commission officials announced today. The reason is the park’s proximity to the city’s wastewater treatment plant amid concerns related to transmission of COVID-19.

“We’re closing Riverbend Park to the public in response to reports that coronavirus can be detected in the feces of infected people,” says Bob Pingley, operations manager for City of Elkins. “The issue at Riverbend is that the park is adjacent to the city’s wastewater treatment plant.”

As wastewater arrives at the plant, one of the first steps in the treatment process is passage through the “oxidation ditch,” a boomerang-shaped closed-loop reactor where microorganisms feed on the nutrients in the water. In this loop, the water is agitated by three paddlewheel-like rotors that keep the water moving and oxygenated for these microorganisms.

“We know that, as COVID-19 spreads in the community, it will end up in our wastewater treatment plant as well,” says Pingley. “Out of an abundance of caution, we don’t want people walking or exercising close to where wastewater is being agitated by the rotors in the oxidation ditch.”

A recent study published in the American Journal of Infection Control reported that “potentially infectious aerosols may be produced in substantial quantities during flushing [of toilets].” Although the study was focused on disease transmission risks within healthcare facilities as a result of toilet flush plumes and concludes that current evidence is inconclusive, city officials don’t want to take any unnecessary risks during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“By analogy, it seems possible that this same aerosolization effect could occur during the agitation of the wastewater in the oxidation ditch,” says Pingley. “We don’t consider this a high risk, but we are in a situation with a lot of unknowns and we’d rather err on the side of caution. In our judgement, this is the safest course of action for the time being.”

Parks and Recreation, Press Release

Garman Bequest Funds New Rubber Mulch for City Park

Delivery was taken of 48,000 pounds of rubber mulch at City Park today. This is the first of two shipments of mulch, for a total of 96,000 pounds, that will be installed in all of City Park’s playground and swing-set areas for […]

Read More
Parks and Recreation, tree board

New Glendale Pollinator Garden Interpretive Sign

If you’re out and about this weekend, why not check out the new Pollinator Garden (with interpretive sign) on the Toumayan Trail (the walking trail that circles Glendale Park)? The creation of the Glendale Pollinator Garden project was an AFNHA collaborative effort […]

Read More
Parks, Parks and Recreation

Summer Time = Parks Time!

Summer is here, and the Elkins Parks and Recreation Commission wants everyone to know that the city’s parks are open for business fun! The Elkins Parks and Recreation Commission (EPRC) operates five parks, which together comprise 70 acres: Bluegrass Park, Davis Street […]

Read More
COVID-19, Parks, Parks and Recreation

Reopening Update for City Parks and Rec Facilities

No announced date for reopening Phil Gainer Recreation Center and Riverbend Park Elkins, W. Va., May 27, 2020: At a meeting last week, the Elkins Parks and Recreation Commission announced reopening steps being taken at city parks and recreation facilities. As reopening […]

Read More
Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Stay up to date with the latest news and alerts by signing up for our newsletter!

You have Successfully Subscribed!