“Because there was no filtration, and the pool was so cloudy, you couldn’t see it, but you’d be standing there and a big ball of hair and debris and nastiness would come across the pool when a wave went across."
Editor’s note: Was New Jersey surfer Fabrizio Stabile’s death at the celebrated Waco wavepool in 2018 caused by negligence and the matter covered up, as alleged by his family in their ongoing wrongful death lawsuit? Was the pool’s water, dyed a fabulous blue-green, coloured to cover “a pathogen soup” in which deadly bacteria thrived? Today, in part part two (read part one here), a former employee details a pool without filtration and awash with filth.
According to Stuart Parson Jr.’s deposition, he began buying the property that would later become BSR in 2004.
The park was bought in several sections.
Parsons transformed the property, building out a lake for barefoot skiing and installing pumps into the aquifer.
In 2012, Parsons began work on the commercial water park, known as the cable park.
In 2015, the Royal Flush, a vertical slide, and the Lazy River were added to the park.
Parsons began to consider the idea of the surf resort in 2016. Discussions with American Wave Machines began in 2017.
The surf resort was financed independently through a bank and American Wave Machines. The bank, according to Parson’s deposition, loaned him $2.5 million for the structure. AMW financed $3.3 million for the actual wave.
In November of 2019, Parsons testified that he still owed $2.2 million and $1.6 million, respectively.
The pool opened in 2018. Cheyne Magnusson, a former pro surfer, was tasked with working out the kinks.
BSR receives its water from a deep water well. According to a former BSR employee, the water comes out of the ground at about 120° Fahrenheit (49° Celsius). To address this, BSR built 30-foot-high mounds of dirt, called craters, to store the water. They were 45-to-50 feet deep and acted as cooling towers.
“The water goes in the top hot and comes out the bottom cold,” said the employee.
Parsons testified that the craters operated as a water reservoir. They were lined to prevent mixing with the clay and provided water for all the water features in the park.
According to the former employee, the surf pool was designed “to be a constant flow through swimming lagoon.”
He said the pool was rarely circulated with fresh water.
He further stated that the pool was installed with a 30-inch drain, but it was never hooked up, as the cost was too high. Instead, the pool used a pump, but it was rarely used.
They would add more freshwater, “but [they] would never pump the old water out.”
The pool did not have a filtration system prior to Stabile’s death. Parsons testified that he was unaware that Texas law required certain water features to have filtration systems.
He also testified that the pool was treated through a “shock” of chlorine twice a week. An employee would monitor the chlorine levels through a pH test strip and add as needed, similar to how private pools are maintained.
BSR did not document or monitor the water quality and turbidity (transparency of the water) of the pool.
Because it was classified as a lake and not a swimming pool, by law, it didn’t have to comply to the same standards as a public pool.
The chlorine was the only method of treatment. Blue dye was added to the pool, but it was apparently purely cosmetic.
The former employee stated that the pool was often full of trash and other debris.
“Because there was no filtration, and the pool was so cloudy, you couldn’t see it, but you’d be standing there and a big ball of hair and debris and nastiness would come across the pool when a wave went across. So you’d be standing in the lineup and this nastiness would just come across your leg and you’d reach down and pull up and it’d be like wrist bands and hair and trash and just nastiness.”
He also stated that the pool was so poorly circulated, that “anytime you drop[ped] something in that pool, it was stuck in that pool.”
There were other issues with water quality too.
The former employee said that refuse from a septic holding tank often ran through the pool.
“When it would rain, or when they would leave the sprinklers on, the water would run off that big hill . . . directly through the septic holding tank [and] right into the pool.”
According to the former employee, the septic had overflowed and ran through the pool just days before Fabrizio visited the park in September.
BSR has since installed a filtration system “much like a swimming pool,” BSR said in press release.