Paris 2024 Olympic Games: the Seine is still too polluted a month and a half before the events

Paris 2024 Olympic Games: the Seine is still too polluted a month and a half before the events
Paris 2024 Olympic Games: the Seine is still too polluted a month and a half before the events

Analyzes carried out on June 16 showed that the Seine is too polluted to host the triathlon and open water swimming events of the Paris Olympic Games, according to results published Friday.

“To date, the samples in the Seine do not correspond to the standards that we will have this summer”, commented during a press point the regional prefect Marc Guillaume, who said he was “confident, with the Cojo (steering Committee), on the holding of the tests at the end of July and beginning of August in the Seine”.

According to the weekly bulletin published by the Paris town hall and the Île-de-France prefecture, the bad weather in France in recent days explains concentrations well above the standards of the two fecal bacteria to authorize competitions in the river.

“Water quality remains degraded due to an unfavorable hydrological and meteorological context: rain, high flow, little sunshine, temperatures below seasonal standards,” explain the local authorities. “The high flow of the river, which does not promote good water quality, is the result of this very rainy weather,” they also recall.

Rates five times higher than the threshold

According to the graphs posted online, the level of concentration of fecal bacteria E. coli was greater than 1,000 colony forming units (CFU)/100 ml, the threshold used by the international triathlon and open water swimming federations to authorize the holding tests, almost every day from June 10 to 16.

VideoParis 2024 Olympic Games: “Alarming results” for swimming in the Seine

It reached or even exceeded 5,000 units on June 11, 15 and 16. An increase which “is explained by upstream discharges linked to rain”, according to the town hall and the prefecture. This deterioration in water quality had already been noted between June 1 and 9 due to rainy weather.

Star of these Olympics, the Seine will host the opening ceremony as well as the triathlon, swimming-marathon and paratriathlon events. But suspense remains over the holding of the Olympic events since the “test events” of August 2023 which had to be largely canceled due to insufficient water quality.

A plan B

In the event of intense precipitation, untreated water (a mixture of rain and wastewater) can be released into the river, a phenomenon that retention works inaugurated just before the Games are intended to prevent. Plan B consists of postponing the tests for a few days, but not changing location.

The President of the Republic Emmanuel Macron recalled in April that the water of the Seine would be “clean” for the Olympics. Anne Hidalgo who was supposed to put on her jersey on June 23, before finally being postponed without the due to the surprise elections of June 30 and July 7. “We are going to leave the legislative elections but it will be before the Olympics,” assured the mayor of Paris this Wednesday.

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