Olympia: Water of the Seine in Paris clean enough for swimming

Florian Wellbrock wants to swim for Olympic gold in the Seine in just over a month. After problems with the water quality, the river is now clean enough. But there is another problem.

A good three weeks before the start of the Olympic Games in Paris, the water quality of the Seine is now sufficient to organize competitions there as planned. The quality of the water has now improved and meets European standards, according to the report prepared by the city and region for the week from June 24 to July 2, as reported by French media.

The previous week, the water quality was still inadequate due to high rainfall and low temperatures. However, the Olympic organizers had always stressed that they expected the water quality to be good once summer weather with high temperatures and less rain took over. This is because higher temperatures and a lower water level in the Seine mean that pathogens are broken down more quickly.

Billions invested in water quality before the Olympics

In order to improve the water quality in the river with a view to the Games and also in the long term, around 1.4 billion euros have been invested in sewage treatment plants and the sewage system in the greater Paris area. This includes a retention basin that has only recently been put into operation. This can prevent the discharge of sewage into the Seine in the event of heavy rain, which has previously been the case in such weather conditions.

Despite possible problems with the water quality, national swimming coach Bernd Berkhahn hopes that the Olympic open water races will be held in the Seine in Paris. “The race in the Seine is a great challenge in terms of its demands. A lot of effort has to be put into training to prepare for this. I hope that this effort was not in vain,” said Berkhahn in an interview published by the German Swimming Association. “Of course, I would also like to experience the race in this atmosphere.” Long-distance national coach Berkhahn trains open water Olympic champion Florian Wellbrock and World Championship bronze medalist Oliver Klemet, among others.

Flow still problematic

In addition to the contamination with pathogens, which was a problem until recently, the current is currently too strong, according to Berkhahn. “As things stand, it would not be possible to carry out a discharge in the Seine because the current speed is two meters per second. You can get downstream quickly, but you can’t go back,” said Berkhahn.

In the event that the conditions are not adequate, Berkhahn would like to see an alternative for the open water competitions. “The organizers should definitely have a plan B,” he said. However, the Olympic organizers have repeatedly stressed that there is no alternative to holding the competitions in the Seine. The ten-kilometer races are planned for August 8 (women) and August 9 (men).

Source: Stern

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