I was pretty aghast at the incident with the open bottle of muriatic (hydrochloric) acid found on Sunday at the Petworth Spray Park. Anyone can make a mistake, sure... but for a Parks employee to leave an open, apparently full bottle of acid sitting inside a children's spray park on opening weekend is a huge mistake.
Imagine if instead of a parent finding the bottle, it was a curious 3 year old who picked it up, and thinking it was a bottle of water, pours it over his head. That's a typical scenario, and that's why this was such a big deal.
I sent a tweet to DPR yesterday, to which they said they're sending a technician. I reminded them the incident occurred on Sunday -- no response after that. So I followed up with them today, and contacted Tyrell T. Lashley, the Director of Aquatics with the DC Department of Parks & Recreation. My goal was to ensure the incident was brought to DPR's attention, and to ask what was being done to ensure something like this doesn't happen again.
DPR agrees the incident was terrible, and said a contractor was responsible. They were reaching out to the contractor to ensure this type of mistake is not repeated.
Mr. Lashley's response is below:
Thank you for reaching out to me. Muriatic Acid is used to control the pH in recreational water. Spray park chemicals and maintenance are handled by a contractor under the control of the Department of General Services. You are absolutely correct, this bottle should not have been left open and unattended. We have reached out to the contractor and have met with DGS to ensure this incident does not happen again.
Please feel free to contact me with any additional questions.
Tyrell T. Lashley, MBA, CPRE
Director of Aquatic
PS: I also asked them to fix the sign at the spray park, and they said they would.