Paris 2024 Olympic Games: “Alarming results”, “growing concerns”, the waters of the Seine arouse the fear of an association after controls

Paris 2024 Olympic Games: “Alarming results”, “growing concerns”, the waters of the Seine arouse the fear of an association after controls

La Seine doit accueillir les épreuves olympiques de triathlon et de nage en eau libre. MAXPPP – Bruno Levesque

The checks carried out by the NGO Surfrider Foundation, and revealed this Monday, April 8, demonstrated results considered "worrying" by the association while the Parisian river is due to host several events of the Olympic Games in just over a hundred days.

Almost 100 days before the Olympics, the NGO Surfrider Foundation warned on Monday of the state "alarming" of the waters of the Seine, where several tests must be held, after having carried out a sampling campaign over six months, outside the period planned for swimming.

On 14 measurements that the association carried out between the end of September 2023 and the end of March 2024 under the Alexandre-III and Alma bridges, sites of future triathlon and open water swimming events , 13 appear to be "above or even very much above" of the recommended thresholds. With regard to the European directive "bathing" of 2006 and the scales of the swimming and triathlon federations, the concentrations of two bacteria indicative of fecal contamination, Escherichia coli and enterococci, must not exceed 1,000 colony forming units (cfu)/100 ml in E. coli and 400 cfu/100 ml in enterococci. Beyond that, the water is considered unsuitable for swimming.

Analyses carried out by Surfrider show E. coli concentrations regularly higher than 2 000 cfu/100 ml (maximum of 7 250 under the bridge of the l’ Alma on February 7) and 500 cfu/100ml for enterococci (maximum of 1 190 on the same date).

Faced with these "alarming" results, Surfrider expresses its "concerns increasing concerns regarding the quality of the waters of the Seine" and points out the "risks" for athletes , and beyond for Ile-de-France residents, "to evolve in contaminated water".

Weather factors

But "there was never any question of opening up swimming in the Seine all year round"< /em>, responded on France Info the regional prefect Marc Guillaume, for whom "this makes no sense to go take samples currently". "Strong sunshine, low precipitation, long daytime, low river flow" are the weather factors &quot ;unattainable in winter" which on the contrary allow swimming in the Seine in summer, for his part affirmed, in a reaction to the’< em>AFP, Pierre Rabadan, deputy for the Olympics and the Seine at Paris town hall.

Nevertheless, other analyzes sent at the end of 2023 to theAFPby the town hall had already shown that between June and September 2023, none of the 14 Parisian water sampling points had reached a sufficient level of quality with regard to European directives. And, in August 2023, the dress rehearsal for several Olympic events had to be canceled due to water quality thresholds clearly exceeded.

Town hall and prefecture, at the head of the steering committee of the plan in which the State and the communities have injected 1.4 billion euros to make the river swimmable, recall that five major works intended to ensure a clean Seine in summer will be operational "within a few weeks".

The triathlon events (July 30 and 31, August 5) and open water swimming, now called marathon swimming (August 8 and 9), remain threatened by heavy rainfall which would degrade the water of the Seine, via the discharge of wastewater mixed with rainwater into its bed. In the event of "big storm" or "very heavy rain" making it unsuitable, "contingency days could be used" to postpone the tests &amp ;quot;one or two days", recalled Marc Guillaume. With the efforts made, "the quality of the water of the Seine will be there for the Olympic Games", assured the regional prefecture in a press release.

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