Brussels' Flow swimming pool forced to remain closed

Brussels’ only open-air swimming pool has been forced to remain closed, two weeks after it opened for the season. 

Flow, next to the canal in Anderlecht, opened on 5 July but closed again soon after due to problems with water quality. Organisers hope to reopen shortly when it's safe to do so.

“While the water at Flow is otherwise almost perfect, the biological value for one of the three tested bacteria, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, is still too high,” the organisers said in a statement on their website. 

“To lower this value, we need to find the source of the bacteria, and unfortunately that takes time. However, we are a step further in our search.”

Pseudomonas aeruginosa is found in standing water and can cause ear and skin infections in vulnerable people. It may also indicate problems with the water system, such as poor flow, creating areas where more serious pathogenic bacteria can develop. 

“This usually occurs in existing swimming pools with a longer lifespan where insufficient flow is caused by wear and mud. This cannot be the case at Flow with its brand new filter installation,” the organisers said. 

"To lower this value, we need to find the source of the bacteria, and unfortunately that takes time"

The new organic filter replaces chlorine, which was used to keep the water clean in previous seasons. Once the filter has developed the necessary ecosystem of microorganisms, it can break down bacteria and values will decrease, provided there is no new contamination. Similar filters are used at Boekenberg pool in Flanders and Belvedere in Wallonia.

The water to fill the pool comes from the regional water network. The organisers are now testing whether the bacteria originated from the pipelines from the water pipes to the pool, as well as whether it is present in the drinking water network.

The results of the latest tests are expected on Wednesday, with a public information session planned the same day to give more information. Swimmers who have booked sessions have been offered refunds.

Flow was launched in 2021 by Pool is Cool, an organisation campaigning for open-air swimming in Brussels. It offers open swimming sessions, lessons, aquagym, film evenings, a bar and other activities in July and August.



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