Poisonous Algae puts the ITU London WCS and Olympic in trouble/Des problèmes pour ITU Londres et les JOs à cause des algues bleues

The lake slated to be used for the 2012 London Olympics and the 2011 ITU World Championship Series race is presently not sae for the triathletes. They recently found blue algae in the Lake and this poisonous algae that is causing skin rashes, vomiting, eye irritating, fever and more is usually a long term trouble. English media seems to be a lot more alarmist than the ITU.

Le lac qui doit etre utilisé pour les jeux Olympiques de 2012 et pour l’épreuve ITU WCS de Londres n’est présentement plus sécuritaire pour les triathlètes. Ils ont récemment trouvé la présence d’algues bleues, cette présence fortuite peut causer des grattements de peau, des vomissements, des iritations aux yeux, de la fièvre et plus. Le problème, c’est que ce problème est généralement sur le long terme puisqu’il est très difficile à eradiquer et peut revenir à n’importe quel moment. Les médias semblent d’ailleurs beaucoup plus alarmiste que l’ITU…

This is the official answer from the ITU.
As you may have seen from either signs around the Serpentine or from media reports, recent tests of the water quality of the Serpentine have indicated an increase in the level of blue green algae. The sample is considered to be a « stage one » blue green algae issue – this means that the Royal Parks is required to advise park users and swimmers through signage. Access to the water has not been prevented and swimming continues.

The Royal Parks has already taken a number of steps to improve the water quality and the level of algae is being monitored on a regular basis. The latest results have actually indicated that levels are going down. We will not purely rely on the latest development though and will work on an action plan with a Consultancy Company of Aquatic Scientists.

It is also worth mentioning that blue green algae has nothing to do with the weeds which you can spot in the Serpentine as well and which many participants from last year will remember . We are also working on a solution for the weed issue, which doesn´t have any implicated health risks but is obviously a hinderance in the swim.

To give you some background information on blue green algae we have prepared a brief overview:

Blue-green algae naturally occur in inland waters, estuaries and the sea. Blooms can form when their numbers become excessive and it can have the appearance of blue-green paint or scum.
There’s a wide range of blue-green algae (cyanobacteria). In fresh waters, they’re suspended within the water or attached to rocks and other surfaces. They include single celled species and others whose cells are arranged in colonies and filaments. It’s difficult to see individual cells, colonies and filaments, but you usually can when they’re concentrated into clumps.

These clumps can look like green flakes, greenish bundles or brownish dots. Bloom and scum forming blue-green algae can produce toxins and illnesses including skin rashes, eye irritation, vomiting, diarrhoea, fever and muscle and joint pain have occurred in people who’ve swallowed or swam through algal scum.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) provides a series of guidance values for the protection of health from the presence of blue-green algae. Three categories are defined « relatively low », »moderate » and « high ». The level of blue-green algae in the Serpentine that has been measured a week ago was relatively low.

The second measurement which was taken this week showed results below the toxic threshold. According to the WHO swimming is discouraged at the « moderate » level and should be prohibited at the « high » level but is not discouraged at the « low » level.

We are continuing to work with the Royal Parks and our Consultants at ways of keeping the level of algae down as we approach the Dextro Energy Triathlon ITU World Championships Series in Hyde Park on August 6 and 7th.


We will keep you posted of any further news but look forward to seeing you in August for what promises to be a stunning event which doubles as an Olympic qualification opportunity for many elite triathletes from around the world as well as a fantastic chance for thousands of amateur triathletes to experience the potential Olympic course within the Park and through the streets of London to Buckingham Palace and back.

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