HFU Professor Dr. Andreas Fath is nearing the end of his 1,049 kilometer marathon swim along the whole length of the Tennessee River in the USA which he began on 27 July 2017. He will complete the swim in Paducah Kentucky at the end of August. During his Swim for Science, he and his team he are taking water samples to analyse the water quality of the river. His message is that we are all responsible for water quality and can all play our part, for example in the correct disposal of packaging material or old medicines.
This is not the first time the swimming professor has carried out such experiments. In the summer of 2014, Professor Fath swam the whole length of the Rhine in record time and demonstrated that the Rhine contains a cocktail of chemicals from painkillers to sweeteners in various concentrations from the source in the Swiss Alps to the North Sea.
Andreas Fath and his partners plan to compare data from the two rivers, from basic information such as temperature and nitrate and phosphate content, to the residues of medicines and hormones in the water and microplastics pollution. Results will be available a few weeks after the swim ends.
The Tennessee River is shorter than the Rhine with its 1,231 kilometers, but the American river is much more challenging to swim due to the slower current and higher water temperatures among other factors.
The project is supported by many American partner institutions:
- The University of the South
- The Tennessee Aquarium
- The Nature Conservancy
- The University of Georgia River Basin Center
- The Ijams Nature Center
- The River Discovery Center of Paducah
- The Tennessee State Parks
- The Tennessee Valley Authority
The project is financially supported by:
- The Lyndhurst Foundation
- The Riverview Foundation
- Wolftechnik Filtersysteme
- Brauerei Ketterer
- The Sweetwater Brewing Company
Technologiezentrum Wasser and the Institute of the University of Tübingen and the University of Vienna are providing analytical support. IMIA and WeSPOT are assisting with the GPS Live Tracking Service.