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Olympics-Seine water quality improving, Paris authorities say

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Water pollution levels in Paris' Rive Seine have improved, data showed on Thursday, three weeks before the Olympics in which the French capital’s landmark waterway is meant to be one of the swimming venues.

Seine river police gear up for security - Seine, Paris, France - July 2, 2024 Police officers are pictured on the river Seine during the tour Reuters/Sarah Meyssonnier

Water pollution levels in Paris' Rive Seine have improved, data showed on Thursday, three weeks before the Olympics in which the French capital’s landmark waterway is meant to be one of the swimming venues.

Data published by the city and regional authorities showed the concentrations of enterococci and E.coli bacteria were below legal thresholds six out of nine days between June 24-July 2.

"Despite a still high flow rate, the quality of the Seine's water improved over the period under review, with water quality in compliance with the thresholds defined by the European directive thresholds on six days," Paris City Hall said in a statement along the results.

The pollution levels had improved enough for bathing last week, the authorities said.

The levels depend on rainfall and water temperature among other factors. With decent weather this week in Paris, the quality of the water is expected to remain good.

The French capital has been working on cleaning up the Seine so people can swim in it again, as was the case during the 1900 Paris Olympics. But a sewer problem last summer led to the cancellation of a pre-Olympics swimming event.

The triathlon and marathon swimming legs of the Olympics, which run from July 26 to Aug. 11, are scheduled to be held in the Seine.

Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo, who championed a campaign to clean up the once infamously dirty river in time for the Olympics, last month postponed her planned dip in the river. She said then it was likely to happen after the French snap elections, whose second round is due to take place on Sunday, and after the annual July 14 Bastille Day celebrations.

Reporting by Julien Pretot

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