the waters of the Seine in an “alarming” state, warns an NGO

By Le Figaro with AFP

Published 40 minutes ago, Updated 11 minutes ago

View of the Seine, France, June 19, 2023. Stephanie Lecocq / REUTERS

The NGO Surfrider Foudation expressed its concerns about the quality of the water of the Seine, where several Olympic events are to be held, after carrying out a six-month sampling campaign.

Nearly 100 days before the Paris Olympics, the NGO Surfrider Foudation warned Monday against the state “alarming” waters of the Seine, where several Olympic events are to be held, after carrying out a six-month sampling campaign. Out of 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, seat of future triathlon and open water swimming events, 13 were revealed “above or even very much above” thresholds recommended for swimming.

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 1000 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.

The analyzes carried out by Surfrider, in partnership with the Eau de Paris laboratory (the same as the Paris town hall) and Analy-Co, “carried out randomly and with a predefined schedule in order to overcome weather conditions (rain, sun, flooding, etc.)”show concentrations of E.coli regularly higher than 2000 cfu/100 ml (maximum of 7250 under the Alma bridge on February 7, 2024) and 500 cfu/100 ml for enterococci (maximum of 1190 on February 7) .

Events under threat

The period analyzed is not part of that envisaged for swimming in the Seine, which will be reserved for the summer months. However, other analyzes sent to AFP at the beginning of 2024 by the Paris 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 at with regard to European directives.

Faced with these results “alarming”Surfrider expresses its “growing concerns about the water quality of the Seine” and point them “risks” for athletes, and beyond for Ile-de-France residents, “to evolve in contaminated water”. Facing “lack of visibility” and communication from the authorities, the association calls in an open letter for accessibility to the test locations “before and during” throughout the Games to be able to continue to take your own samples.

The triathlon events (July 30 and 31, August 5) and open water swimming, now called marathon swimming (August 8 and 9) remain particularly threatened by heavy precipitation which would degrade the water of the Seine, via discharge into its bed of wastewater mixed with rainwater. At the beginning of August 2023, the dress rehearsal for the open water swimming event had to be canceled due to water quality thresholds being significantly exceeded.

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