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50,000 cubic meters of wastewater pours into main Paris river

The city’s pumping system has suffered a malfunction two months before the start of the Summer Olympic Games

Around 50,000 cubic meters of sewage water has been dumped into the Seine River over the past several weeks due to the problems with the pumping system in a suburb to the northwest of Paris, local officials have said.

The incident occurred two months before the start of the Summer Olympics, with French authorities rushing to clean up the river so that athletes could swim in it during triathlon events.

“There has been a major malfunction at the network that delivers the wastewater from Conflans-Sainte-Honorine to the treatment plant,” municipal mayor Laurent Brosse told La Gazette du Val d’Oise on Wednesday. He said that three pumps had stopped working due to electrical failure and that temporary pumps had been installed instead.

An estimated 50,000 cubic meters of wastewater has been released into the river since the incident, according to the administration of the Grand Paris Seine et Oise area, which includes Conflans-Sainte-Honorine. Officials said that the discharge of contaminated water from the broken pumping system has been stopped.

READ MORE: Macron promises to swim in Seine

The commune of Conflans-Sainte-Honorine is located some 24 km (15 miles) from downtown Paris. Officials believe that particularly heavy seasonal rainfall had caused damage to the equipment. Locals took to social media to complain about the foul smell coming from the river and reported seeing sanitary tissues and wipes floating in the water. Videos circulating on X (formerly Twitter) show brown water flowing into the river.

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FILE PHOTO: A general view as athletes swim in the Seine river in front of the Eiffel Tower during the Women World Triathlon on August 17, 2023 in Paris, France.
Fecal-ridden river threatens Paris Olympics

With the triathlon events set to kick off on June 30, Paris authorities have invested some €1.4 billion ($1.5 billion) into renovating the city’s water infrastructure, including new water storage reservoirs and pumps. Despite their best efforts, however, the latest tests conducted by water charity Surfrider showed that the levels of E. coli and the enterococci bacteria in the Seine are higher than allowed by sports federations and European bathing standards, France 24 reported on Wednesday.

In order to quell the concerns over pollution, French President Emmanuel Macron and Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo promised to take a swim in the river ahead of the Olympics.

June 02, 2024 at 08:43AM

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