With experience stretching back to the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester and including the London Olympics and 2015 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, APEM has been analysing samples from the Trifarm swimming lake.

The samples are shipped to our laboratory in Manchester, where they are analysed for signs of a variety of toxins.

Among the things the scientists are looking for are blue-green algae, many species of which produce toxins known as cyanotoxis. These can cause symptoms such as rashes, skin and eye irritation, blisters, stomach cramps, vomiting, nausea, diarrhoea and liver damage. They can affect both humans and animals.

Accidentally swallowing or inhaling affected water, or allowing it come into contact with skin, can lead to the symptoms.

Bill Richmond from Trifarm commented: “We are used by three hundred to four hundred swimmers a week, so ensuring water quality is good, and that our protocols for managing blue-green algae are working, is vitally important.

“APEM help us ensure that we provide a safe venue that can meet the growing demand for triathlon and outdoor swimming training and events.”

APEM also coordinates the testing of the water for a wide range of faecal bacteria, which can lead to infections of the intestines, eyes, ears, nose, skin and respiratory system, amongst other health risks. Farming activities, industrial process, wildlife and domestic animals, as well as discharges from drains and sewers, are the main sources of faecal bacteria in water.

Richard Bassett, a phytoplankton specialist in APEM’s laboratory, said: “Trifarm takes its responsibility to keep athletes safe, healthy and protected from infections very seriously, so we’re happy to be helping.

“Gathering samples and testing them in the laboratory is actually just part of much wider service that we often provide for open water swimming.

“We also use our decades of experience to advise on how the water quality can be managed, as well as dealing with blooms of blue-green algae or other pollution if it occurs.”

Trifarm offers facilities where triathletes can train and is also hosting a series of races through the summer.

If you have any queries, please contact Heather Webb, principal aquatic scientist.
Alternatively you can email us here. Or call 0161 442 8938.