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Pollution Levels in Seine River Remain High Ahead of Paris Olympics

Paris, June 29, 2024, The Europe Today: According to a recent water quality report released by the Paris mayor’s office, pollution levels in the Seine River remain significantly above permissible limits for bathing. This report, finalized last week, comes less than a month before the Olympic Games, where athletes are expected to compete in swimming events in the iconic waterway.

The report indicates that water quality is adversely affected by unfavorable hydrological conditions, including rainfall, high flow velocity, low solar radiation, and below-normal temperatures. Pollution from upstream areas also contributes to the poor water quality.

Data from Sunday revealed that bacteria levels, such as enterococci and E. coli, exceeded legal limits at all four test sites along the river. At the Alexandre III bridge, a venue for the triathlon swimming events, enterococci concentrations were over 1000 colony-forming units (cfu) per 100 milliliters, more than double the European legal limit of 400 cfu/100ml. E. coli levels were nearly four times higher than permitted.

Despite a €1.4 billion ($1.5 billion) investment in wastewater treatment and sewer systems in the greater Paris area, pollution spikes during heavy rainfall, as observed in recent weeks. City officials are hopeful that improved weather conditions, with higher temperatures and lower water levels, will help reduce pollution levels by breaking down harmful bacteria more quickly.

Pierre Rabadan, Paris deputy mayor in charge of sports and the Olympic Games, stated, “We had a period of historic rainfall in May and significant rainfall in June. However, we remain optimistic that with better weather conditions, water quality will return to summer-like levels.”