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A day at the bleach: Disused quarry known as the Blue Lagoon attracts hundreds of visitors. . . but the water”s as toxic as ammoniaWater contains car wrecks, dead animals, excrement and rubbish… but families still go in for a dipLake in former limestone quarry measures pH 11.3, just less than ammonia at 11.5pH and bleach at 12.6pH
The crystal blue azure water in this lake may look like a tropical paradise – but it”s actually pollution that gives the lake its inviting hue.
And the water is a toxic soup nearly as strong as bleach that contains dead animals, excrement, car wrecks and rubbish.
In an alarming development, parents have begun taking their children to swim in the poisonous, water-filled, disused quarry and ignoring signs urging them to stay away. One warning tells visitors that high pH levels in the water can cause skin, eye and stomach irritations, rashes and thrush.
Another even makes it clear that the pH level in the lake on Harpur Hill, in The Peak District, known locally as the Blue Lagoon is, 11.3 and that bleach is 12.6 while ammonia is 11.5.
Dangerous: Families pitch up on the banks of the blue lagoon in Buxton, Derbyshire, ignoring warnings that the clear blue waters have pH levels almost as strong as bleach and a re filled with rubbish
Looks can be deceiving: The water in the disused quarry gets its blue and turquoise appearance from the Limestone hills surrounding it. The water looks like something from the Mediterranean
On closer inspection, dumped cars, beer cans, glass and plastic bottles are strewn across the lake. Previous reports on the rubbish problem at the Blue Lagoon have detailed condoms and syringes also being found in and by the water”s edge.
Bathers who cannot resist the look of the crystal clear waters overlooking the land near Buxton, Derbyshire, have been flocking to the area after seeing pictures of the water online.
After being lured to the Mediterranean-looking aquamarine water, surrounded by exquisite white slopes, visitors are spending time soaking up the sun beside the banks of the old lime pit and bathing in its deadly water.
Similar to a scene from a Third World shoreline, families who are seemingly intoxicated by the Blue Lagoon”s beauty are swimming amongst the floating rubbish and submerged hazards.
Rather than being similar to any tropical oasis, the blue water is actually caused by the surrounding limestone rocks which leach the chemicals into the water, turning it a turquoise blue colour.
Jayda Thompson, 14, right, and Remece Sabe, 13, left, paddle in the waters after being taken to the “attraction” with their relative Sam Ahmed. She said it was alright for them to go in the “amazing” water, as long as they were no deeper in than their neck
Splashing around: Jayda swims in the lagoon. The pH levels in the water are almost as strong as bleach can cause skin and eye irritations, as well as stomach problems and even thrush
Ignoring warnings: Mrs Ahmed smiles as she watches relatives Jayda, Remece, Tristan Thompson, aged six, left, and Malachi Croft, aged five, paddle in the perilous waters which are littered with rubbish
At first glance the children might look like they are playing at a tropical beach thousands of miles away, but this is actually in the Peak District and the colour is caused the Limestone rocks
Yesterday, mother Sam Ahmed drove her family 20 miles from Stockport to visit the lake for the first time. Two boys aged six and five, clothed only in shorts, played with old plastic bottles and milk cartons in the water.
“I had a good swim . On the drive home I felt numb all over. Not sure if it was such a good idea now.”
One of the boys submerged his face in the water. The boy”s sister and cousins aged 13 and 14 used a smart-phone while paddling and then swum around in the toxic soup.
When questioned if she had seen the warning signs, Mrs Ahmed, 36, the children”s mother and aunt, who had been smiling approvingly and taking photographs from the shoreline as the children played in the lake, said: “Yes, I have seen the signs, but it”s not really a problem – I have told the children not to swallow any water or go in deeper than their necks. It [the water] is so beautiful and blue now the sun”s out – it”s amazing.”
Three other men brought three young lads to play in the water. The boys paddled around in discarded rubbish surrounding a submerged car – one boy sat astride an old wooden plank floating near the edge. One of the men said: “I don”t care about the boys going in the water but if my f****** wife sees pictures of my boy in the paper I”ll be trouble.” The other man said: “I think it”s disgusting – I wouldn”t go in”.
Another couple brought their two young children for a day-trip to visit the Blue Lagoon. They sat beside the water for half an hour – one of their sons splashed the water with his hands and threw stones into the lake.
Dangers: A warning sign next to the lake on the privately owned land makes it clear that there are lots of hidden nasties, including car wrecks, dead animals, excrement and rubbish
Toxic: A second sign overlooking the lagoon spells out just how strong the levels of Limestone are in the water. They are almost as powerful as ammonia and bleach
A group of four teenagers jumped in to retrieve and play with a football floating near the middle of the lake. While a photography student from Macclesfield came to take photographs of the Blue Lagoon after seeing other pictures of it on the internet.
In March the following anonymous post appeared on a blog about the Blue Lagoon: “I went down last summer, it”squality, however it”s only so blue because it”s limestone water, I had agood swim – my misses only had a paddle. I was probably in for about anhour. On the drive home I felt numb all over. Not sure if it was such agood idea now.
“It was one of the hottest days when I went last year, and the water was still freezing, at the end of the day it”s a disused quarry and it”s stupidly deep.
“The water”s littered with cars and large sharp objects and you sink into the lime sand stuff and can get stuck easily.
“My opinion, I loved it, I”m going to go again, but be warned – it”s a very dangerous place.
A young child straddles a plank as he plays in the water, which has dozens of empty bottles floating around in it and even car wrecks on the bottom
These two children play with empty bottles in the water, kicking up clouds of chalky dust from the bottom of the lake. They could suffer all kinds of health problems from spending time in the water
One youngster takes off his shoes as he prepares to join his friends in the poisonous waters. The council are looking at how they can have the area sealed off
Last month the Buxton Advertiser reported that a petition calling for action at the bizarre “tourist” attraction in Buxton was handed over to councilors.
Pam Reddy, the area”s county councilor, said: “Both councils are pursuing different possible long-term solutions with possible permanent solutions being the quarry being drained or filled in.
“Before this can be considered and undertaken full research has to be completed on flood risk and site drainage and then a full planning application would need to be completed and submitted.”
And Cllr Carol Hart, Derbyshire County Council Cabinet Member for Public Health, added: “I would just like to assure residents that at Derbyshire County Council we are doing all we can to help resolve this real problem. Our Environment Department, Legal and Community Safety are all involved and we will continue to work with partners to come up with firstly a short term solution and then working towards the long term solution.
“It is complicated by the fact that this is private land but nevertheless we will continue to work to come up with a solution to tackle this awful situation.”