Paris 2024 Olympic Events Face Seine Pollution Concerns

Paris 2024 Olympic Events Face Seine Pollution Concerns
Paris 2024 Olympic Events Face Seine Pollution Concerns

The River Seine will be a central element of the Paris 2024 Olympics, with the opening ceremony taking place on the river with a boat parade and two events – the marathon swimming and the swimming leg of the triathlon – scheduled to be held there.

However, pollution levels in the Seine have raised health concerns for athletes.

The monitoring group (State and City of Paris), based on Eau de Paris water analysis, publishes weekly results. The first three bulletins for the month of June showed the water quality was insufficient to allow bathing. However, the latest data published showed that the river was suitable for swimming on six of the nine days between June 24 and July 2.

According to European standards, the safe limit for E coli is 900 colony-forming units (cfu) per 100 milliliters while the threshold for Enterococcus is 330 cfu/100ml.

The higher the temperature, the faster the bacteria dies. “Whether the temperature of the water is 16 degrees Celsius or above 22 Celsius – like it usually is in the summer – it makes a significant difference,” said Raigneau.

The city of Paris built a storage basin capable of holding 46,000 cubic meters of waste water to significantly reduce the risks of pollution of the Seine.

Once the rain water is collected in the Austerlitz basin – a monster, 30-meter deep structure the size of a dozen Olympic swimming pools – it will flow through a tunnel to a treatment plant. When the water meets the required health criteria, it will then be poured into the Seine.

If, despite the postponements, the competition cannot take place, the marathon swimming event will take place at the reserve site of Vaires-sur-Marne, where rowing and canoeing events are held, and the triathlon will be turned into a duathlon.