Sun. Jul 21st, 2024

There are 28 days until the Summer Olympics opening ceremony, and tests from the historic Seine River show the water is still at dangerous contamination levels for E. coli, which is often linked to fecal bacteria.

The test, performed by the Eau de Paris monitoring group of the mayor’s office, showed contamination levels in four different areas were above the safe limit of 900 colony-forming units per 100 milliliters, a limit set by the World Triathlon Federation.

Along with the triathlon events, marathon swimmers are scheduled to dive into the river for their events. The three triathlon events will span from July 30 to Aug. 5, while the marathon swimming races will be on Aug. 8 and 9.

E. coli, along with enterococci, can cause diarrhea, urinary tract infections, pneumonia and sepsis when ingested. The latest findings marked the third consecutive week that samples from the river had unsafe levels of bacteria related to fecal matter.

The classification of “good water quality” is less than 500 colony-forming units of E. coli per 100 milliliters of water and less than 200 units of enterococci.

The river had previously been been illegal to swim in since 1923. Paris spent $1.5 billion to build a water tank and a network of underground sewers and treatment plants to catch sewage during rainstorms that would normally flow into the river.

However, a recent period of heavy rain — which was also responsible for wreaking havoc on the French Open — washed even more sewage and wastewater into the waterway. In April, Paris 2024 President Tony Estanguet told CBS that Olympic events could be postponed if the rain persists into the Games.

Summer weather is supposed to help the cleaning efforts, as a period of dry conditions and summer sun would help kill some of the bacteria.

Previously, organizers have said there is no fallback plan or backup location in case the wet weather persists. One option could be to turn the triathlon into a duathlon, comprised only of cycling and running.

French President Emmanuel Macron and Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo have continued to argue their decade-long efforts will have the scenic river ready in time for the events. Both have said they plan on swimming in the river themselves to prove its cleanliness.

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(Photo: Miguel Medina / AFP / Getty Images)

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#Paris #Seine #River #dangerously #contaminated #swimmers #Summer #Olympics

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