Town Dyes Blue Lagoon Black to Save Stubborn Swimmers From Pollution

Despite a myriad of warning signs, swimmers kept frolicking in the quarry’s filthy waters.

A before-and-after shot of Buxton, England’s “Blue Lagoon.” (Photo: The Times)

Jul 23, 2013· 0 MIN READ
Salvatore Cardoni holds a political science degree from the George Washington University. He's written about all things environment since 2007.

“Think. Would you swim in ammonia or bleach?”

For years, this exact phrase has been posted on warning signs outside a lagoon in Buxton, England—and yet people, so enticed by the turquoise water, kept betraying common sense and personal safety by returning for dip after dip.

Fed up with the utter vacuity of hundreds of weekend road trippers, the town council decided that the only way to keep everyone on dry land was to dye the lagoon black.

The coloring happened last month, and, so far, the plan appears to be working, reports Atlas Obscura.

The watering hole, which actually goes by the deceptive name of “Blue Lagoon,” is a former quarry that fills up after each rainfall.

According to Slate, the lagoon has a pH level of 11.3. For comparison, the pH of ammonia is 11.5; bleach is 12.6. These levels of toxicity can cause swimmers to suffer from stomach ailments, fungal infections, and skin and eye irritations.

Why not simply have the quarry drained?

Turns out, it’s too polluted—too many toxins would be released into the drinking water.

“It’s not pretty any more,” said local business owner Rachel Thomas, to The Daily Mail. “They don’t think they’re on holiday in the Bahamas any more...It was absolutely beautiful to look at but was horrendously dangerous.”