Policy For Lifeguards In Place For Contamination At Lake Shawnee

By: Brian Dorman Email
By: Brian Dorman Email

Topeka, KS (WIBW)-- The director of parks and recreation for Shawnee County has set a new policy on how to handle contamination at the lake Shawnee swimming area. This week two lifeguards walked off the job with no desire to return after human waste was found in the water.

Two year life guard Gray Botswell said he was not only told to go back into the water after the fecal matter was located but to retrieve it with his bare hands. He went back in the water but says he didn’t touch any of the waste. He asked to go home and was told he could and not to return.

Two days later his girlfriend Kristen Whithorn who has been life guarding at the lake for four years also walked off the job after she was told that she couldn’t speak to media about her boyfriends incident. She thought she should be able to speak out because she says she feels Gray wasn’t in the wrong.

John Knight director of parks and recs for Shawnee County says starting immediately a new policy is in place for lifeguards out at Lake Shawnee's swimming area if this happens again.

Knight said in an interview Thursday that the lifeguards did everything right. In an interview with 13 News on Friday Knight says after going back and looking a policy was not in place for lifeguards in a contamination situation.

The new policy states that lifeguards will no longer go back in the water when contamination is located, managers will be responsible for removing fecal matter with a skimmer while guards stay on land for crowd control, and a new announcement will be made for those on the beach letting them know contamination has been detected.

KDHE has tested the water at Lake Shawnee for E-coli, the results have not been released.


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