Stay out, the water’s filthy! Germs ruin Swedes’ swims

Sweden’s heatwave has seen many people heading to enjoy a swim in one of the country’s countless lakes. But just as the water has become warm enough to enter, authorities are warning that high levels of bacteria have made many bathing spots unsafe.

Stay out, the water's filthy! Germs ruin Swedes' swims
Seagulls only.

Eleven designated bathing areas in Sweden have so far been declared unsafe for swimming by local councils, according to the Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management. 


The condemned spots stretch from Malmö in the south to Norrbotten in the north. In Stockholm, Brunnsviksbadet has been closed due to bacteria in the water.


The most common bacteria found in high concentrations in swimming water are E-coli and intestinal enterococcus. If swallowed, these can lead to diarrhoea and vomiting. Other germs can cause itching, ear infections or can infect open sores.


Local authorities are obliged to test the water at certain designated bathing spots – most of Sweden’s thousands of lakes and coastal beaches are not checked. As tests often only take place three or four times a year, there is no guarantee even that water at a swimming spot that has passed is still clean.


The most common cause of poor water quality is bacteria multiplying in Sweden's warm, freshwater lakes. It is rare for it to be caused by pollution from sewage outlets.


The following bathing spots have been declared unsafe by local councils:


Mörtebo bathing spot, Ockelbo, Gävleborg county. Tested 7/7. 

Svartbjörnsbyn bathing spot, Boden, Norrbotten county. Tested 11/7

Sibbarp bathing spot, Barnviken, Malmö, Skåne county. Tested: 11/7

Bongs bathing spot, Ystad, Skåne county. Tested: 11/7

Brunnsviksbadet bathing spot, Stockholm. Tested 11/7

Seglingsberg  bathing spot, Surahammar, Västmanland county. Tested: 11/7

Lövudden bathing spot, Västerås, Västmanland county. Tested: 13/7

Ätran trädet bathing spot, Ulricehamn, Västra Götaland county. Tested: 12/7

Lindesjön bathing spot, Loppholmen, Lindesberg, Örebro county. Tested: 12/7

Roxen berg bathing spot, Linköping, Östergötland county. Tested: 12/7

Vättern, Hästholmens bathing spot, Ödeshög, Östergötland county. Tested: 12/7