NYC Looks to Fun but Functional Floating Pool in East River to Clean Water Below

By Katy Galimberti, AccuWeather.com Staff Writer
July 31, 2014; 5:05 AM ET
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Due to mass pollution, New York City rivers are unsafe to swim in, and while some efforts have been made to purify the water, effective measures have not yet been completed. An inspired group of inventors, architects and scientists are trying to change that with a single swimming pool.

When a couple architects came across a crazy idea that could not only make the river cleaner, but spark a little bit of fun also, they jumped on it.

That idea is know as the Plus Pool, a floating pool projected to sit alongside the Brooklyn Bridge that filters river water and exudes cleaner water into the river. A permanent location has yet to be confirmed.

An illustration of the concept pool that can clean waters from the East River while providing New Yorkers a safe place to swim. (Photo/Plus POOL)

When co-founder Archie Coates moved to New York City, he was dumbfounded by the lack of swimming locations in the city. With the rivers not a viable option, Coates realized he had taken accessible water for granted in his pre-city life.

Between two design offices, Family NY and PlayLab, the floating idea was born.

"We love thinking about ideas and throwing them into the world," Coates said.

The pool will fit within Olympic size standards, have deck chairs, lockers, umbrellas, everything a regular pool would have, only it floats in a river next to one of the biggest cites in the world.

Coates explained the pool as a giant filtered water pitcher, just like the one that sits in your refrigerator, only the pool will clean 500,000 gallons of water a day.

Featuring three layers of filtration, no chemicals will be needed to purify the water as it passes through each layer before ending up in the pool's basin. The water flowing out of the pool will be clean, incrementally increasing the amount of uncontaminated water in the river.

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After successful Kickstarter campaigns, an online fundraiser program, enough money was pooled to conduct research on the East River this year. In the process of testing different filtration systems, they expect research and final designs to be completed in time for a 2016 opening. Coates hopes the timing will coincide with the next summer Olympics.

The team is not yet in the stage to draw up evacuation plans or even procedures for when a thunderstorm is in the area, but Coates said that will probably be in the following steps as they work with city officials to get the pool in water.

While any new pool is enough to make kids smile, Coates hopes the invention will add feasibility to the city's goal of clean rivers by 2020. After successful implementation in New York, the goal spreads globally.

"New York can be the home for developing this technology that is the first of its kind," he said. "Although it's cool and fun, the whole impetus is the filtration system that we're developing now."

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