New York City’s Self-Filtering +POOL Will Open in the East River Soon

Lucky New Yorkers may soon find themselves enjoying a refreshing swim in a one-of-a-kind, floating, plus-shaped pool nestled in the East River. Conceived in 2010 by a dedicated team of engineers, the +POOL project aims to transform the East River into a safe and clean aquatic haven. At its core, +POOL functions as a cutting-edge aquatic filtering facility, capable of purifying a staggering one million gallons of the once-infamous East River water each day. Governor Kathy Hochul’s recent announcement of a $16 million investment, combined from both the city and the state, signifies a significant step towards realizing this ambitious dream. With testing at scale expected to commence as early as summer 2024, the team envisions completing the project, transforming it into a freely accessible public swimming pool, by the following year.

The improved water quality of New York’s rivers and harbors over the past three decades, thanks to measures like the elimination of raw sewage dumping and the reduction of Combined Sewer Overflows, lays the foundation for the +POOL project. Friends of +POOL notes that these waters are now among the cleanest they’ve been in years, creating an opportune moment to explore safe access for public recreation. The innovative three-layer filtration system and final disinfection process developed by +POOL meet bathing beach standards for swimmable water. Having filed patents in 2017 and 2018, the project has already undergone successful testing phases in the East River, building confidence in the feasibility of this floating, self-filtering marvel.

The journey of +POOL began with a Kickstarter campaign in 2010, raising over $40,000 and leading to the initial filtration tests at Brooklyn Bridge Park in 2011. Subsequent campaigns in 2013, which raised over $300,000, funded scaled testing in the Hudson River in 2014. Collaborations with experts in naval architecture, fabrication, filtration textiles, and marine science demonstrated the viability of the technology. The establishment of the nonprofit organization Friends of +POOL in 2015 further solidified the project’s commitment to creating a chemical-free, natural river water filtration system. Governor Hochul’s substantial investment not only propels +POOL towards completion but also marks a historic effort, representing the largest statewide investment in swimming since the New Deal era of the 1930s. As New York seeks ways to provide safe water recreation in response to a record-breaking summer heatwave, +POOL stands as a promising solution to both cool off residents and promote swimming education.

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