The Toxic Blue Lagoon of Buxton

The Toxic Blue Lagoon of Buxton


It looks inviting, but you wouldn’t want to
swim in there. That is dark and lonely water. It looks toxically blue, and it is. It’s alkaline,
it’s got a pH above 11, it would be like swimming in dilute bleach. Not enough to cause immediate
injury, but enough to irritate your skin and your eyes over time. Enough to cause some
problems a day or so later. It would feel like if you’d washed with soap
and then didn’t rinse it off, just let it dry. That alkaline comes from limestone. This is
an old limestone quarry, leaching calcite crystals into the water. It can’t be drained,
where would you pump it to? It’d just harm the local water supply then fill up with rainwater
and become toxic again. Only a fool would ignore this, but there’s one born every minute. But for a while, this wasn’t the Blue Lagoon,
this was the Black Lagoon. And the black wasn’t dangerous: it was black dye, put in by the
local council. It was harmless. But that blue: that’s inviting. The black, with the dye in,
it was just as toxic, it was just as unhealthy, it was just as likely to make you ill. It
was just as likely to give you a nasty fungal infection a few days later because you’d accidentally
bleached part of your body, but: blue water. That’s tropical seas, sunshine and holidays.
Black water? Oh, we don’t want to swim in that. Dying this water black was a genius idea.
It did more than a hundred warning signs ever could. And it meant that a lot of people didn’t
end up getting ill from swimming. But now it’s 2015: the Blue Lagoon is blue
again and I guarantee you, this summer someone is going to bleach themselves. [Translating this video? Add your name here if you’d like credit!]

99 thoughts on “The Toxic Blue Lagoon of Buxton

  1. We use to swim in our local limestone quarry and it was ironicly called the blue lagoon, but its now a scuba diving place, but im guessing the ph wasnt as bad.
    We also use to swim in oyr local canal and god knows whats in there!

  2. Why not just dump hydric acids in there, lowering ph, making more water, and then suck it up, rinse and repeat?

  3. "..I guarantee you, this summer someone is going to bleach themselves" Michael Jackson could've saved a fortune…

  4. 0:16 The sign is good, but wrong. The pH scale is logarithmic so a pH of one is not twice as acidic as a pH of two, it's ten times as acidic. Sooo, ammonia is twice as alkaline as the blue water and bleach is thirteen times as alkaline. To be fair this is a petty thing to argue about because although the sign wrong by saying those things are similar it does seem to serve its purpose of keeping people out (for the most part) which is why I said it's good.

  5. People have been swimming in it for years an the black dye didn't stop people either cos we all knew it had dye put in it. I don't know anyone that got ill from it. I know people that went everytime the sun come out an there's nothing wrong with them. It's just a tactic to stop people swimming in it cos it used to get really busy there

  6. You could bubble air through that and remove millions of tons of co2 from the atmosphere, whilst at the same time lowering the pH and making it safer

  7. There is no way that the pH of 11 will come from limestone, strictly Calcium Carbonate. The equilibrium point for that stuff in water is very close to 7. There is another contaminant and it is a bit more complex than you allude to. Waste caustic soda, waste quicklime and host of other villains could be the cause. Get a sample to a real chemist and get an answer the question!

  8. I lived in Buxton for about 12 years and I remember even in school people would 'joke' about going for a dip, because it's technically Buxton water, and 'the town's already radioactive anyway' .

  9. Why not just mix acids in to lower the pH to at most 8?
    Dying the water every few years will cost more in the long run and cause people to be harmed. And you could even make the water safe for fish and other aquatic life.

  10. Could the council not just get a big bottle of pH adjuster from the tropical fish shop? I'm sure a few drops and some tap safe it would be fine.!

  11. Plumb it into parliaments water supply. This would be the most common sense thing to do. We could make MPs useful and use their bladders to filter the water.

  12. Its not calcite that has leached into the lagoon but waste from calcium oxide processing from a nearby factory. Calcite, limestone or chalk would not get above 9.5pH, dolomite might reach 10.8.

  13. This lake was once known for strange sightings of a very famous music performer. They say that, on a full moon you can still hear a faint echo reflecting from the water, and Is accompanied by a floating single white glove, that sinks just out of sight.

  14. this video follows a concerning pattern of tom telling me not to do things and me immediately wanting to go do them.

    now i suddenly want a sip of the forbidden powerade

  15. Yes Tom you are right it does look almost tropical and very inviting I remember one just like that growing up in Buckinghamshire

  16. I recall seeing several lakes like this in the south west. I was told it was where they quarried for kaolin.

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