New York City’s East River Turns Into a Clean Pool for Swimming

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With more than 14 bathhouses in Manhattan in the 1940s, New York City is no stranger to swimming in municipal waterways. Yet, during current times, people shudder at the sound of swimming in what have transformed into polluted waters. But one man’s concept will soon make swimming in New York’s East River safe and clean.

Archie Coates, co-founder of +Pools, is teaming up with engineering and design firms, Arup and IDEO, to develop a 285,500-gallon swimming pool filled with river water for New Yorkers to safely swim and play in. And he is doing so by utilizing purification technology that conceptually resembles “gills of an oyster.”

To make the innovation a reality, Coates first teamed up with scientists and environmentalists from the Columbia University. Since they determined that sewage made the East River unhealthy for humans, Coates was then able to push forward with the development of a “three-level filtration system made out of high-tech ‘geotextiles’ that have previously been used in wastewater treatment.”

The environmentally friendly purification process moves the water through the system and microbes are removed by the “geotextiles” at each level. This is similar to how oysters use their gills to filter water for survival in the ocean.

Already receiving more than $41,000 in supporter donations, the chlorine-free swimming facility is set to open in 2016.

For more information or to donate to the project’s Kickstarter campaign, click here.


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  • Does the system filter out the pee before the water goes back into the river?
  • A “shutter” is placed at a window to protect it. A “shudder” is a visual expression of fright.
  • sounds good : )

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