Tokyo 2020: Purifying Odaiba Marine Park

While the upcoming Olympic games in Tokyo are still far off in the minds of many, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government is already teaming up with Tokyo 2020 to prepare for the event.

In the course of their preparations, one of their main objectives is to ensure that all international standards are met for the event. Among the tests that have been conducted, the water quality test for the Marathon Swimming and Triathlon venue at Odaiba Marine Park has presented a significant challenge. Strategically scheduled over the span of 21 days mirroring the exact dates on which the event will take place in 2020, the results of the water quality and temperature test failed to reach the standards set by the International Swimming Federation and the International Triathlon Union.

As published by Tokyo 2020 following the myriad of tests that took place, the water quality in Odaiba Marine Park was greatly affected by a downpour that lasted 21 consecutive days in August. The runoff that made its way into Odaiba Marine Park created drastic variances in the data that was collected over the course of the tests. For Marathon Swimming, the variables in question included the quantity of faecal coliforms, the presence of oil film on the surface, the level of Chemical Oxygen Demand, the transparency and the temperature of the water. For Triathlon Swimming, the variables were the quantity of escherichia coli and enterococci bacteria, the pH levels, and water temperature. Over the span of the test period, the only criteria that satisfied the international standards were water temperature and water transparency.

According to the publication, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government is planning to improve the water quality by upgrading their underwater screens from dual layer to triple layer. In reference to the diagram below, provided by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, the third layer of the screen adds a final barrier of defense that will filter out any remaining pollutants that the first and second layer didn’t catch. In years past, the dual layer filtration systems have succeeded in creating safe swimming conditions for events such as Japan’s National Triathlon Championships and the Japan Open Water Swimming Championships.

Above all, the health of the athletes is the number one priority for Tokyo 2020 and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government. If the new filtration system doesn’t help the water quality reach a satisfactory level by the time of the Olympic games in 2020, Tokyo 2020 has agreed to consider amending the event dates and times in response to weather conditions. When it comes to ensuring water quality, cutting corners can lead to the exposure of harmful bacteria and, consequently, serious illness. On a stage as large as the Olympic games, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and Tokyo 2020 are well-aware of what is at stake, and they’ve made it clear that they have every intention of creating a safe swimming environment to host the world’s top athletes.