Unsafe Levels of E.coli in Seine River Ahead of Paris Olympics

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Recent tests conducted in the Seine River, just weeks before the Paris Olympics, have revealed elevated levels of E.coli and other bacteria. The contamination levels during the first eight days of June, following heavy rain in Paris, exceeded safe limits for athletes.

The report, published by the monitoring group Eau de Paris, highlights concerns about water quality in the historic downtown stretch of the Seine near the Eiffel Tower.

Paris Olympics events in the Seine River

The first Olympic event scheduled in the cleaned-up Seine is the men’s triathlon, including a 1.5-kilometer swim, on the morning of July 30. The women’s triathlon follows the next day, and a mixed relay event is set for August 5. Marathon swimming races over 10 kilometres for both women and men are planned for August 8 and 9, respectively.

Despite the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) expressed confidence, the final decision on event safety rests with the governing bodies of individual sports, World Aquatics and World Triathlon.

A senior member of the IOC, Christophe Dubi, said there were “no reasons to doubt”, the races will go ahead as scheduled in a historic downtown stretch of the Seine near the Eiffel Tower. “We are confident that we will swim in the Seine this summer,” he added.

European standards set the safe limit for E. coli at 900 colony-forming units per 100 millilitres. During early June, test results frequently exceeded this threshold, although enterococci levels remained mostly within safe limits.

Improved weather conditions contributed to better water quality, but the issue remains due to factors like runoff, chemical dumping, and boat traffic.

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