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Archive for the ‘Water Quality’ Category

Teenager Cleans up River for her Brother

News Canada reports: In 2015, 11-year-old Stella Bowles wanted to go swimming in LaHave River in Nova Scotia, but her mom said no. Stella’s mom told her it wasn’t a good idea because of the sewage that was being dumped into the river. This prompted Stella to begin testing the river water for fecal bacteria as part of a science project. She sampled parts of the river where her brother went swimming and, with the help of a local doctor, the samples were tested for bacteria.

The results discovered that the four areas that were sampled had bacteria levels that exceeded Health Canada guidelines.

Stella began to research the impact straight pipes had on the health of the river. A straight pipe system is a sewage disposal system that transports raw or partially settled sewage directly into the water. The discharge of raw sewage into the LaHave River through straight pipes is illegal under the Nova Scotia. She posted her findings on a Facebook page that garnered hundreds of shares and responses.

Stella ended up securing more than $15-million from all three levels of government to fix the problem. In 2018, work to swap out straight pupes for septic systems that include septic tanks, pump chamber, sand filters and drain fields began. More…

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Leicester’s De Montfort University reports: The world’s fastest-growing aquatic weed has effectively removed toxins from a polluted river in the UK – a finding which has the potential to revolutionise environmental clean-ups.

The plant’s roots were able to absorb metals and pollutants such as copper, zinc, arsenic, lead and cadmium. In some cases, the plant completely removed all traces of the metal within three weeks.

The trial was carried out at Nant-Y-Fendrod, a tributary of the River Tawe near Swansea, which was a focal point of global copper production in the 19th and 20th centuries. Prof Haris said some estimates were that some seven million tonnes of copper and zinc smelting waste was abandoned on the valley floor there.

Despite efforts to remediate the land, it still contains heavy metals, and fails to meet EU water quality standards.

Prof Haris’ PhD student Jonathan Jones, a senior environment officer at Natural Resource Wales (NRW), carried out the proof of concept study by growing the water hyacinth in river water to assess metal removal efficiency; in the laboratory, in the stream itself and along the riverbank.

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The Local fr reports: Part of the Paris canal has once again been transformed into an outdoor pool for the summer. The Local’s Ben McPartland took the plunge on the opening day after being convinced the water was clean enough.

La Baignade, the new swimming pool at the Bassin de la Villette in north eastern Paris is open and ready for sunseekers and swimmers, if the weather holds up.

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo opened the open air swimming pools in north eastern Paris on Wednesday, although unlike The Local’s editor she wasn’t game enough to take a dip.

The pool is free and open from 11am to 9pm each day throughout the summer until September 9th.

The Times reports: Paris splashes €1bn to clean up Seine. Guarding competitors in the 2024 Olympics from the risk of diarrhoea, organ failure and death when they swim in the Seine is set to cost French taxpayers about €1 billion.

Paris won the 2024 Olympic Games after Anne Hidalgo, the mayor, promised to make the river clean enough for the open water swimming races and triathlon. She said that the clean-up would also allow Parisians to swim in the Seine for the first time since it was banned almost a century ago.

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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).
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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…”

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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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