In An Enemy of the People most of the town is willing to ignore their polluted waters as long as the local spa makes money. "Why can't we just disinfect the spa?" asks Mayor Stockman. They can but it will take time and money.
The 2005 Journal of the Balneological Society of Japan reports that several spas in Japan used chlorine. Unfortunately the quantity required to kill the infection was so large that it resulted "in promotion of the oxidation of aging of human skins contrarily to what is to expected to be beneficial in hot spring water bathing."
A 2007 patent describes an alkaline electrolyte solution and carbon filters designed to decompose unwanted contaminants and purge them from the water. The patent claims that previous methods of disinfecting have been expensive and impractical, "causing degradation of water quality" and have given "rise to drug-resistant organisms."
Glenwood Hot Springs in Colorado strikes a balance between chemical and non-chemical solutions. "While we utilize a million dollar, state-of-the-art ozone purification system, we are still required by State Health Department regulations to maintain chlorine residual in our pools. Our water is monitored 24 hours a day to ensure the utmost in purity for our customers."
CNET describes ozone purification as "a mini-lightning storm" turning 02 into 03 and piping it into the water, but warns that it must be monitored as "large concentrations of ozone can be harmful to people."
While solutions are out there, the Mayor insists on keeping the spa open while one is found. His sibling will not tolerate this. Thus begins the conflict.
An Enemy of the People runs May 4-30.
Tickets are available through our website.
Paul G. Miller