Toxic ‘Blue Lagoon’ Dyed Black To Deter Swimmers

A quarry pool in England known as the “Blue Lagoon” has been dyed black to prevent people from swimming in the water, which gets its pretty turquoise color from caustic chemicals in the quarry stone.

The pool at Far Hill Quarry, a disused quarry on Harpur Hill in Derbyshire, is a popular swimming spot, but the water is extremely toxic and contains a pH level of 11.3, which is highly alkaline.

Signs are posted around the edge of the pool to try to deter swimmers. One sign reads, “Warning! Do not enter water due to high pH levels. This can cause: Skin and eye irritations; Stomach problems; Fungal infections such as thrush; Other infections such as rashes.”

The sign goes on to say, “Think! Would you swim in ammonia (pH 11.5) of bleach (pH 11.3)? Well these are similar to the Blue Lagoon (pH 11.3)!”

The local council in Harpur Hill took the step of dying the water black after realizing that swimmers were unable to resist the pool’s turquoise waters, which is host to all sorts of dangers.

“It has similar pH levels to bleach and is extremely cold,” a High Peak Borough Council spokeswoman said. “There are also a number of hazards, there was a car abandoned in there and all sorts of rubbish, but it still looked a lovely turquoise color.”

The spokeswoman said that the council is trying to find ways to make the pool less attractive to visitors and that there is “anecdotal evidence” of people going to swim as usual and then “very quickly turning around again when they saw the water.”

A local business owner, Rachel Thomas, said it seemed like dying the Blue Lagoon black had helped deter people from swimming in it.

“It’s not pretty any more,” she said. “They don’t think they’re on holiday in the Bahamas any more, they know they’re in Harpur Hill. It was absolutely beautiful to look at but was horrendously dangerous.”

In August 2012, a proposal to fill in the quarry was rejected. The family of a 15-year-old boy who drowned at the quarry had been fighting to make the site safe since his death in May 2009, but the Derbyshire County Council said that creating a landfill was the last thing that needed to be done to the pool.

What do you think of the decision to dye the Blue Lagoon black?

[Photo credit: Colin Day / Flickr]