Archive for the ‘Water Quality’ Category

Abbey Park Lido

Abbey Park Lido

The Leicester Mercury reports: Fancy a dip in open water in this weather? To me, the mere thought of a swim in icy cold water brings me out in goose bumps – but, there are those who take the opposite view!

There was a time when British swimmers once filled the lakes and waterways of England.

But things changed and these intrepid swimmers soon found themselves chased out of the water and “rounded up and confined to indoor swimming”.

Some years back, an article I featured concerning swimming in Abbey Park prompted reader Chris Ayriss, of Western Park, to contact me about a book he had written on the history of swimming, Hung Out to Dry.

Mr Ayriss’s book “traces the demise of a swimming empire”.

It also reveals “why the swimmer has been chased out of the water”.

There is a chapter on Leicester and it shows that the Abbey Park was, at one time, used as a venue for major swimming competitions.

The author gives many instances of large-scale gatherings, especially when connected with the Abbey Park Show and told me that “on show days, thousands would travel to Leicester to see the swimming events. They would line the bank of the river to cheer on their heroes in the long distance swims, of both a mile and half-a-mile.

“One report speaks of an afternoon of solid rain not dampening the enthusiasm of thousands of spectators watching the proceedings, which were the biggest draw of the show. One thousand six hundred seats were provided for the spectators at a cost of 6d each.”

Apparently Leicester also had a fearsome reputation in water polo and “these raucous events had a great following”.

One match, against Derby, brought a whole trainload of supporters with it and generated as much excitement as we would see at a big football match today.

The site of the old water polo matches can still be clearly identified by the steps in Tumbling Bay, adjacent to the footbridge in the centre of the park.

Mr Ayriss wrote: “Despite the fact that children were encouraged to swim elsewhere, they continued to use Abbey Park until a prohibition order chased them out of the water in 1959.

“The Medical Officer of Health reported that the river was polluted to such a degree that it was unfit for bathing.

“Since then, great improvements have been made regarding water quality and when I checked with the Environment Agency, the city waters were listed as of ‘good quality’ and are now suitable for bathing.”

Other places in England with waters of similar quality have encouraged children to swim.

They have taken simple health and safety precautions such as having a lifeguard in attendance, dredging and rodent and algae control.

Mr Ayriss suggested similar steps could be taken in Abbey Park, and asked: “Could we not reopen the gates of the footbridge so lives of children are not put at risk? Could we not take down the signs that prohibit swimming and station a lifeguard instead of a warden on the riverbank?

“At one time, Leicester led the way when it came to the encouragement of swimmers. Perhaps now is the time to do something positive to remove the dangers of swimming rather than the swimmers!”


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The Local FR reports: It’s official. The water in the Paris canal is clean enough to swim in meaning Parisians won’t have an excuse not to take a dip this summer.

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo has promised Parisians they will be able to swim in the city’s canal this summer after test results revealed the water is clean enough for health standards.
Paris authorities had already voted to allow free swimming in the Bassin de la Villette which links the Canal St Martin and the Canal de l’Ourq in the north east of the city and is one of the locations for the Paris Plages summer beach festival.
But the green light depended on whether the water was clean enough.
The results are in and it’s good news for the city’s swimmers, many of whom took a dip in the canal for a one-off “open day” last summer (see photo above).
The temporary structures will be built into the actual Bassin, which connects the Canal de l’Ourcq with the Canal Saint-Martin.
The smallest of the pools will be for children and just 40 centimetres deep. Another will be up to 120 centimetres in depth, while a third will be reserved for swimmers at 2m deep.
The pools in total will stretch 90 metres end to end and measure 16m across.
The City Hall estimates that around 1,000 people will show up to the pools on any given summer day.
It plans to take down the pools at the end of the summer period, with the hopes of setting them up again in the summer of 2018.
The Bassin de la Villette was inaugurated in 1808 by Napoleon Bonaparte and was a former port area during the industrialisation of rivers.
However these days it is the centre for numerous cultural events and has been well and truly gentriifed with numerous trendy bars and restaurants opening alongside the water.

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The Mirror reports: “Almost seven in 10 of bathing sites in England now meet ‘excellent’ standard set out by the EU…”


In 2016, 287 beaches and inland swimming sites in the country met the tough top standards set out in the European Union’s Bathing Water Directive (69.5%), and 407 out of the 413 spots assessed passed the minimum grade.

But six bathing waters failed to meet even minimum standards: Scarborough South Bay, Yorkshire; Clacton (Groyne 41), Essex; Walpole Bay, Margate, Kent; Instow, Devon; Ilfracombe Wildersmouth, Devon; and Burnham Jetty North, Somerset.

The figures, which look at results for water quality over the last four years, are an improvement on 2015, the first year of results under the new EU system , when 63.6% of beaches met excellent standards.

This is partly due to improvements being made in infrastructure at or near bathing sites in recent years, which has helped reduce pollution and cut levels of harmful bacteria in swimming spots that can make people ill.

But this year’s figures are also better than 2015 because of more favourable weather conditions.

Better weather reduces the risk of overflows from sewers and storm drains and the amount of urban and agricultural pollutants washing down to the sea when there is heavy rainfall.

The 2015 results include the very wet summer of 2012, which saw water quality at bathing sites drop.

Environment Secretary Andrea Leadsom said: “England’s bathing waters are enjoyed by millions of people every year, which is why I am delighted the water quality at our beaches and lakes is better than at any time since before the Industrial Revolution. More…


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Luxembourg Wort reports: Landlocked Luxembourg has among the cleanest swimming spots in Europe, an EU-wide water quality audit has found.

Luxembourg topped the ranking in the report released on Wednesday, recording “good” or “excellent” water quality in all 11 of its outdoor wild swimming holes.

The tests concerned bathing water at the Remerschen swimming lake in south-east Luxembourg, and at 10 sites located around the Upper Sûre Lake in the mid-north of Luxembourg. More…

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The ASA reports: A new group has been set up to investigate the links between swimming and health, and demonstrate just how good swimming is for you. The Health Commission for Swimming is an independent group made up of experts from across the health and physical activity sectors. Set up as a response to Sporting Future: A New Strategy for an Active Nation, the group will explore current research around health and swimming, and provide evidence on how swimming positively impacts on a person’s physical and mental wellbeing.

Ian Cumming, Health Education England Chief Executive and Level 3 swimming coach, will chair the Commission group. He said: “Over the last six months there has been a distinct shift in the national debate about the value of physical activity and the contribution it can make to the health of the nation.

“Swimming is unique; anyone can do it regardless of age, ability or health condition. It is the only physical activity that can be done from birth right through to older age, and with over 16 million people swimming at least once a month, it is well-placed to respond to many of the country’s key health and social concerns.

“We already know that just 30 minutes of swimming each week can significantly benefit general levels of health and wellbeing. This new Commission group will seek to identify and conclusively demonstrate how swimming can help combat a range of health conditions within the population.” Read more…

Comment: With much in the news lately about the hidden risks associated with swimming pools perhaps outdoor swimming will be considered as a healthy alternative.

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Australia’s Lake Parramatta Attracts 12,000


The Sun Parramatta Holroyd reports:  The first full summer season of swimming at Lake Parramatta attracted 12,000 visitors between October 31 and March 13, according to the Australian Lifeguard Service.

Swimming was re-introduced to the lake for the first time in more than 70 years last year as part of the Parramatta River Catchment Group’s ‘Our Living River’ campaign to return swimming to the river by 2025.

“Lake Parramatta has been a popular spot for swimming since January last year and I’m sure it will continue to be for many summers to come,” Parramatta lord mayor Paul Garrard said.

The water temperature throughout the season ranged from a comfortable 20 to 27°C, well within safe swimming guidelines.

Bacteria levels were good outside of the rain periods.

While lifeguards won’t return to the lake until October, it remains open for swimming all year round.

It’s recommended people don’t swim for three days after heavy rain due to water quality concerns.

Lake Parramatta, North Parramatta NSW 2151, Australia

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The Guardian reports: “Beaches in Blackpool, Ilfracombe, Hastings and Margate among those set to fail new safety standards in 2015, despite water at public swimming spots being cleaner than ever last year.”

Twenty-five beaches in England may fail to meet tough new EU standards for bathing water quality that come into force on Friday.

Water at the 417 bathing spots monitored by the Environment Agency (EA) in 2014 was cleaner than ever recorded, with 99.5% meeting standards for intestinal enterococci and E. coli, faecal bacteria that cause eye and ear infections and gastroenteritis. In 1988, a third of swimming spots failed the tests.

swimmers vote with their feet

But the data published by the EA on Friday show that authorities will have to redouble efforts to make all public swimming areas safe under the revised EU Bathing Water Directive, which comes into force this summer bathing season, which opens on Friday.”

The beaches expected to fail new EU bathing water standards

Blackpool Central
Blackpool North
Budleigh Salterton
Burnham Jetty North
Clacton (Groyne 41)
Henleaze Lake
Ilfracombe Wildersmouth
Lancing, Beach Green
Lyme Regis Church Cliff Beach
Morecambe South
Seaton (Cornwall)
Teignmouth Town
Walpole Bay, Margate

For more on this topic click here…

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