Hampstead Heath ponds shut amid pollution fears after flash floods

·2-min read
Hampstead Heath Ponds (Tolga Akmen/AFP via Getty Images)
Hampstead Heath Ponds (Tolga Akmen/AFP via Getty Images)

The Hampstead Heath ponds have been forced to close until further notice following the London flash floods.

Kenwood ladies’ pond, Highgate men’s pond and Hampstead mixed pond will be closed all weekend after fears the waters became polluted in Monday’s downpour.

A month of torrential rain hit the capital in 90 minutes, sweeping through the streets and pouring into people’s homes at nearby Notting Hill’s famous Portobello Market.

The popular London ponds were also hit by the floods causing possible contamination from storm water and sewage overflow.

Bookings have been suspended until Monday at the earliest while safety tests take place, meaning Londoners hoping to take a dip in the weekend sunshine will be left disappointed.

Swimmers with pre-booked tickets are being offered a full refund or a splash at Parliament Hill Lido instead.

A City of London spokesperson said: “Following the heavy rainfall on July 12, the Bathing Ponds have been temporarily closed as the water levels have continued to rise.

“Water quality has also been impacted by storm water and foul water sewers surcharging in the vicinity of the Bathing Ponds.”

A flooded road in south Hampstead (PA Media)
A flooded road in south Hampstead (PA Media)

Thames Water and the Environment Agency collected water samples in the area on Wednesday which so far show no indication of sewage contamination.

However, the water quality is currently unsatisfactory for bathing.

Tests for ammonia, a key indictor of sewage pollution, came back negative while results for ecoli are pending.

A Thames Water spokesperson added: “We tested the water and checked our sewer and found no evidence of the sewer having overflowed or there being sewage in the ponds.”

Checks will continue until the water quality meets the Environment Agency Inland Bathing Water classification, according to City Hall.

All Hail Hampstead Dry Dam

Protecting the treasured ponds, the dry dam at Hampstead was said to hold back flood water flowing down the Hampstead Chain and the Model Boating Pond.

This combatted against additional water rushing down the Highgate Chain.

“It was reassuring to see the dry dam in operation holding back storm water... proving the importance of our work to improve the dams over recent years,” a City Hall spokesperson said.

Work continues to clean up and repair the damage following the floods to ensure swimmers can return to the bathing ponds as soon as possible.

Read More

300,000 Londoners say capital’s polluted air triggers their asthma

Winners of £1million Mayor’s challenge to solve London’s problems

Londoners skip annual leave as they wait for certainty over holidays

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting