— Published 23 August 2023

The test event suffered a “valve malfunction”

Silly. But unfortunate. According to Paris City Hall, the pollution in the Seine that led to the cancellation of swimming in two of the four events in the triathlon test event for the Paris 2024 Games last weekend was the result of a “valve malfunction” in the sewage system. A malfunction, then, nothing more. But the consequences were spectacular, with levels of Escherichia Coli (E.coli) bacteria higher than the standards set for an international competition. “At this stage, the preferred hypothesis is that a valve in the sewage network located on the Tolbiac bridge has malfunctioned,” explained the Paris City Council. “Investigations are continuing in order to understand the sequence of events and determine the measures to be taken to guarantee perfect water quality for the 2024 events.” Earlier in the month, the cancellation of the open water swimming test event had been made unavoidable by the heavy rain of a Paris summer full of contrasts, between periods of heatwave and autumn weather. For the triathlon, the organisers were spared by the elements, but a mechanical incident had comparable effects. However, there is no question of a plan B. The OCOG and Paris City Council are promising that work will continue on the vast Seine “bathing plan“, in particular the Austerlitz basin designed to store up to 50,000 m3 of rainwater, to prevent the river’s abstraction levels from slipping into the red.