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  RiverScape MetroPark
RiverScape MetroPark
237 E. Monument Avenue, Dayton, Ohio 45402
(937) 275-PARK (7275)
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How the Fountains Work

The Five Rivers Fountain of Lights is created by five water jets housed in concrete towers and a powerful center geyser. The towers straddle the confluence of the Great Miami and Mad Rivers just east of the Riverside Bridge and shoot 2,500 gallons of water per minute toward the center of the river. The central geyser rises from the jets to a majestic 200' in the air. Covering 395,000 square feet across an 800' diameter, the Five Rivers Fountain of Lights is one of the largest fountains in the world.

Harnessing such an awesome fountain requires a few tricks as well. The Five Rivers Fountain of Lights is equipped with directional wind sensors. If the wind is blowing in a direction and at a velocity that could interfere with area traffic or other activities, individual jets of the fountain will not operate. Also, during the cold months when water could create hazardous conditions on nearby roads and recreation trails, the fountain is turned off.

Hours of Operation - The Five Rivers Fountain of Lights runs through Labor Day.

Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day: Monday-Friday, 6:56 am - 9:54 pm, and weekends 10:56 am - 9:54 pm. The fountains operate for 8 minute intervals straddling the top of the hour during the aforementioned daily run schedule.

Note: The fountain system may be disabled at anytime during a particular 8 minute interval run time due to wind speeds that exceed the systems wind limits in a particular direction.

For additional information contact Paul Williams, Regional Park Manager at (937) 277-4831.

The fountain's majesty is echoed even when the fountain is not running. Sixty-foot stainless steel and aluminum spires adorn the tops of the fountain towers. These sculptural pieces of architecture reflect sunlight and create beautiful moray patterns. The spires are lit throughout the year by 25 "intelligent lights" that can produce an infinite number of colors.

Planning the Fountains

When the Five Rivers Fountain of Lights was originally conceived, the first (and most obvious) question that came to mind was, “Where will we get all that water?” The original idea was to pull water from the river, but we quickly realized that the silt levels and low flow of river water would lead to tremendous construction costs and a maintenance nightmare. Instead, groundwater is used. Dayton sits atop one of the most prolific aquifers in the United States - the Great Miami Buried Valley Aquifer. This aquifer, created by an ancient lake now buried under millennia of sediment, underlies the course of the Great Miami, Mad and Stillwater Rivers and is up to three miles wide.

Water for the Fountains

Water to the fountain is provided by seven wells that tap the aquifer. Prior to building the fountain, the RiverScape partnership asked for opinions from the City of Dayton, the Miami Conservancy District and the Ohio EPA regarding the potential effect of the fountain. All three organizations agreed that the fountain will not harm the aquifer. In fact, groundwater in the area is so plentiful that many downtown buildings continuously operate dewatering pumps to prevent groundwater from entering their basements. These pumps discharge more water into the rivers daily than is used by the Five Rivers Fountain in the same period.

To ensure that the fountains will never impact the aquifer or the community water systems in the region, ongoing groundwater level and quality monitoring will be conducted by The Miami Conservancy District's Groundwater Preservation Program. Observation wells have been installed at each tower to record monthly water level readings. These readings will be compared to historical monitoring data to ensure the health of the water, both in terms of environment and the area's water supply.

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