Seine water an Olympic problem

Seine water an Olympic problem

PARIS OLYMPICS: Open water swimming will be held in Seine Photo credit: CC/JConvertini

Latest analyses showed that the Seine’s water is currently too dirty for Olympic open-water swimming events.

On June 21, not much over a month before the start of Paris Games on July 26, Marc Guillaume – the State’s representative in the Paris region –  revealed that water samples collected on June 16 did not meet the required standards.

The region’s weekly report blamed unusually wet weather for the presence of two types of faecal bacteria, including E. Coli.

Rain, together with increased flow into the river, little sunlight and lower than usual temperatures all contributed to the poor results, the statement said.

Four sections of the Seine had an unacceptably high E. Coli concentration between June 10 and 16 although city hall and the Olympics organisers have admitted that the Seine’s condition has always been a touch-and-go issue.

Test events for the swimming marathon were called off in August 2023 owing to the condition of the water, as well as the swum stages of the triathlon and para-triathlon on two of the four days when the heats were held.

Should the worst come to the worst and there is too much pollution for swimmers, events will not be relocated, the authorities announced.  Instead, they would be postponed for some days until the Seine water was safe.

Whatever the state of the water, the athletes will not be obliged to share the Seine with invasive wildlife, although the River Brigade has in the past been called on to remove a python, a crocodile, a snapping turtle and a pacu, a fish which is a distant cousin of the piranha.

But a River Brigade spokesperson explained that all were there only because they were dumped by unprincipled owners divesting themselves of former pets once they were too big or too difficult to handle.

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Written by

Linda Hall

Originally from the UK, Linda is based in Valenca province and is a reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering local news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at