‘Alarming’ Bacteria Levels Found In Seine River, Where Olympians Will Swim

"A nonprofit focused on waterway conservation has voiced concern about contamination in Paris’s Seine River ahead of open-water swimming events to be held there at the Olympic and Paralympic Games starting in July.

The Surfrider Foundation said Monday that testing at a bridge, the Pont Alexandre III, between September and March regularly turned up higher, and sometimes much higher, levels of E. coli and enterococci bacteria than the recommended threshold, which can be an indication of fecal matter.

The bridge is the planned finish line for the 10-kilometer marathon swim and the aquatic portion of the Olympic and Paralympic triathlons.

But Ile-de-France precinct officials dismissed the Surfrider tests on Monday, saying the water would be swimmable for the Summer Games after key elements of a $1.5 billion plan to clean up the river are rolled out in April and May. And the city’s deputy mayor for sports and the Olympics and Paralympics, Pierre Rabadan, said in an interview Tuesday in Paris that the findings ignore a steady improvement in water quality over recent years. “I did not learn anything from the surveys they provided,” he said."

Frances Vinall reports for the Washington Post April 9, 2024.

Source: Washington Post, 04/10/2024