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Hampstead Heath ladies’ pond closed again due to ‘poor results’ from water quality tests

PUBLISHED: 10:27 05 October 2020 | UPDATED: 15:42 06 October 2020

Kenwood Ladies' Bathing Pond was closed on Sunday. Picture: Polly Hancock

Kenwood Ladies' Bathing Pond was closed on Sunday. Picture: Polly Hancock

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Hampstead Heath’s ladies’ pond is closed again due to “poor results” from water quality tests - only eight days since it reopened following a sewage leak.

Hampstead Heath’s ladies’ pond is closed again due to “poor results” from water quality tests - only eight days since it reopened following a sewage leak.

The City of London Corporation (CoLC) closed Kenwood Ladies’ Bathing Pond for the second time in three weeks on Sunday due to high levels of E. coli.

The CoLC, responsible for the Ponds, said it believes the bacteria was a result of “heavy rain on Friday and over the weekend” which “washed impurities into the water”.

On Sunday it told members who have swum in the ladies’ pond since September 26 to get in touch if they had “experienced any ill-effects which might be linked to this continuing problem”.

Mary Powell, vice-chair of the Kenwood Ladies’ Pond Association, called the latest closure “very disappointing”.

Mary told the Ham&High: “One of the points in favour of swimming in supervised open water is supposed to be the testing of water quality.

“Swimmers need to be assured that the testing regime will remain more frequent now, so that any future contamination can be detected early before it does any significant harm to swimmers.”

The CoLC has faced questions over the cleanliness of the water and the risk posed to swimmers’ safety since the ladies’ pond shut on September 17 from a sewage blockage.

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It reopened on September 26 before the second closure on Sunday.

The Environment Agency (EA) normally undertakes 20 tests between May to September at the ladies’ pond but this year has only managed three in the same period due to Covid-19.

A CoLC spokesperson said: “Since the closure of the Kenwood Ladies’ Bathing Pond following the sewage surcharge last month, we have increased our water quality checks which are currently being carried out daily.

“The bathing pond reopened on September 26 when tests confirmed the water had attained the highest level of quality for swimming, and this has continued to be the case in subsequent tests.

“However, the test results we received on Sunday revealed the water was not of a satisfactory quality for swimming.

“We believe this is the result of heavy rain on Friday and over the weekend washing impurities into the water, and is not linked to last month’s Thames Water incident.”

Swimmers are being told to use the Mixed Bathing Pond or Parliament Hill Lido as an alternative to Kenwood Ladies’ Bathing Pond.

The CoLC said the ladies’ pond will remain closed until the water quality returns to a “satisfactory level”.

READ MORE: Hampstead Heath ladies’ pond to reopen after sewage blockage is cleared

READ MORE: Hampstead Heath Ladies’ Pond remains closed after sewage leak amid questions over water testing

READ MORE: Kenwood Ladies’ Pond: Heath bathing pond closed after sewage leak


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