The poison Blue Lagoon: It might look inviting, but the water is almost as toxic as bleach
- Water contains car wrecks, dead animals, excrement and rubbish… but families still go in for a dip
- Lake in former limestone quarry measures pH 11.3, just less than ammonia at 11.5pH and bleach at 12.6pH
They call it the Blue Lagoon, and people come from far and wide to cool off in its clear waters.
Yet the flooded former quarry is so polluted that its contents are almost as toxic as bleach.
Signs close to the shoreline warn that not only is the water known to contain abandoned cars, dead animals and human waste, but it has a pH level of 11.3 – compared with 12.6 for bleach and 11.5 for ammonia.
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
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
They state how the water is toxic enough to cause ‘skin and eye irritations, stomach problems and fungal infections’.
Yet parents have been spotted pulling their babies around in rubber rings on the water, while families, groups of youths and even stag parties all regularly make the trek to the lake.
Caitlin Bisknell, a local councillor, said the site at Harpur Hill, near Buxton, on the fringe of Derbyshire’s Peak District, had been attracting sunbathers and swimmers for at least the last decade.
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
But she said the problem has grown over recent years after visitors began posting pictures of the lagoon on the internet.
Over the weekend, a family from Stockport, 20 miles away, were among those ignoring the dangers to splash about in the former limestone quarry.
Boys aged five and six played with old plastic bottles and milk cartons in the water as their mother, Sam Ahmed, looked on from the shore.
The 36-year-old said she had seen the signs but was not concerned. ‘I have told the children not to swallow any water or go in deeper than their necks,’ she said. ‘It is so beautiful and blue now the sun’s out.’
The attractive colouring of the water is caused by the surrounding limestone rocks which leach calcite crystals into the water, turning it turquoise.
The alkalinity comes from calcium oxide, a white powder which would have originally been left around the site as a by-product of the quarrying process.
Last month, residents presented High Peak Borough Council and Derbyshire County Council with a 760-name petition calling for action to stop people from visiting the site.
‘But because it is privately owned, neither police nor the local authorities have powers of enforcement there.
County councillor Pam Reddy, who lives in Harpur Hill, said: ‘The site is not just a health hazard, it causes untold problems for villagers with cars blocking roads.
‘We have tried to get the site drained, but the water board will not drain it into the water supply because it is so toxic.’
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 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
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
Amanda Deviana think: Hmmm , interesting and so beautifull. But i won`t take a risk to swim in a poisoned lagoon!