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Tokyo gov't to tackle dirty water problem that tarnished 2020 Olympic trial events

The Para Triathlon trail event that became a Duathlon after the water quality was found to be unacceptable is seen in Minato Ward, Tokyo, on Aug. 17, 2019. The intended swimming competition space can be seen in the background. (Mainichi/Junichi Sasaki)

TOKYO -- The Tokyo Metropolitan Government recently announced it is pursuing further measures to ensure the safety of waters for events in the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, after higher than acceptable standards of E.coli bacteria were found in waters surrounding Odaiba Marine Park where various competitions will be held.

The majority of the steps are already being carried out, but the metropolitan government did present new proposals including increasing the number of nets it will deploy to control the flow of waste from sewage pipes in the area.

On Aug. 11, athletes participating at Olympic trial swimming events complained that the water stank. The Para Triathlon held on Aug. 17 had its swimming event cut from the schedule after E.coli levels in the water were found to be over twice the acceptable limit as dictated by international sports federations. Only the running and cycling portions went ahead.

In October 2018, the metropolitan government announced it would install three layers of vertically-standing underwater screens in time for the games to prevent the flow of E.coli bacteria.

This time it has presented new proposals, including that it will improve the cleaning of sewage systems in time for the games, increase the number of nets deployed onto nearby sewage pipes to prevent the outflow of waste, and analyze the cause of the smells to begin drawing up plans to better the situation.

Regarding the cause of the high E.coli levels measured during the trial events, the metropolitan government said that rainfall from an approaching typhoon created an amount of sewage greater than treatment facilities can process. It asserted that this meant some domestic drainage flowed into the competition area.

(Japanese original by Koichi Uchida, City News Department)

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