Cleaning the River Seine for swimmers by 2024

Photo: (c) Van Cleemput

The Seine River is known as one of Paris’s natural landmarks. The French city is preparing for next year’s Summer Olympics, and one of the promises made in order to win the Olympic bid was to get the river swimmable for the Olympic athletes. So far a lot of progress has been made in order to achieve this goal.

The Swimming Plan strategy has been undergo for years leading up to 2024, which involves the installation of a network of new underground pipes, tanks, and pumps aimed at preventing bacteria entering the waterway. The water is not purified but rather untreated water is prevented from entering the river, which is a huge challenge during storms. On average, Paris has 170 rainy days a year. If there is heavy rainfall before the games this will cause a problem. Some of the Olympic events, like the long distance races and triathlons, may have to be postponed if the water quality is not good enough.

The city hosted the games for the first time in 1900, where seven swimming events took place in the river. Swimming in the Seine was banned after 1923 due to pollution from industrial waste and sewage. Cleaning up the river for Olympians and Parisians is Paris’s goal and the budget allocated for the games will mean it’s important to achieve this. However, access for Paris residents is expected to be fulfilled at 20 locations along the Seine in two years’ time, according to Mayor Anne Hidalgo.

Photo: (c) Van Cleemput


Author: Sylvia Jacobs

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