Bathing water: tips for having fun in the bath without adulteration

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Written By Kampretz Bianca

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Water quality is generally excellent

The Federal Environment Agency (UBA) evaluated the results of 13,295 water samples from 2,291 German bathing waters from 2023. The quality of bathing water in 90.3 percent of the water bodies was “excellent”, down three percent from than in the previous year.

How do I find clean lakes?

Where the water was clean last year, there is a good chance the quality will be the same this season. But not all summers are the same; heat waves can promote the growth of algae and storms can, for example, cause feces to reach bathing waters. Therefore, it is worth paying attention to current measures.

In Germany alone, around 2,300 bathing waters are monitored by municipal and state supervisory authorities and water samples are regularly taken there. This is what she writes EU Bathing Water Directive 2006/7/EC before. You can find clean lakes, rivers and ocean beaches as well as links to the latest research results from the federal states on the website. Federal Environment Agency.

When is the water no longer suitable for swimming?

Is the water cloudy and greenish? And does it smell bad? So it’s better not to jump into the lake to swim. Scaly or striped algae formations also indicate poor water quality. In the worst case, there is a strong spread of cyanobacteria. They are also popularly called blue-green algae, although they are not algae, because these bacteria carry out photosynthesis and often color the water blue-green. Sometimes the water looks like pea soup. But they also occur in deeper layers of water and are not visible there.

Why are cyanobacteria dangerous?

In 2023, German authorities had to temporarily ban swimming in 94 cases due to blue-green algae. Cyanobacteria produce toxins that, in high concentrations, can be particularly dangerous for young children, pregnant women and people with weakened immune systems. They damage the liver and cause skin rashes or conjunctivitis.

Young children in particular are at risk if they swallow contaminated bath water while playing. Cyanotoxins can even be fatal to dogs or other pets if they lick their fur dry after bathing or eat dead “algae blooms” in the bench area. Whether human or animal, if symptoms occur after bathing, a doctor should be consulted and the local health department should be informed.

You must keep this in mind

Help. To have more space for themselves, bathers often spread out along the banks and away from official bathing areas. This makes it even more important to pay attention to each other and help when needed.

Protect the environment and nature. As parking spaces are often scarce and escape routes must remain unobstructed, it is best to swim by bike. Be considerate of the animals and plants on the shore: the reed belts are taboo for bathers. And don’t leave your waste lying around, take it with you.

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