Ah, a white beach and beautiful blue water. That’s where Club 18-30 IQ gather these days, and their equally bright tour guides put up helpful signs. The water is so clear you can watch the car wrecks rusting on the bottom.
Personally, I wouldn’t dream of going into any body of water whose edges were ringed with decaying car parts and litter but if there are people dim enough to drive 20 miles just to spend time among the flotsam and swim in water that no fish can live in, good luck to them.
The water is alkaline, just over pH 11, which means there’s not much alive in there. Not much at all. Even at a bacterial level, there’s not much going on.
That does not mean it will dissolve you. Sure, it has a similar pH to bleach and ammonia but if there was even one page of a chemistry course in the heads of anyone concerned, they would know that -
a) pH does not measure acid or alkali strength, and
b) pH does not cause infectious disease.
Cranberry juice generally has a pH of less than 3. It’s not far off having the same pH as hydrochloric acid but you can drink cranberry juice and still have a tongue and a throat. All pH measures is a ratio: the proportion of H+ to OH- ions in the solution. It does not tell you how many there are, just the ratio of them. How many are there is what makes the difference between the acidic taste of cranberry juice and the very brief, very painful taste you get with hydrochloric acid before the lower part of your face makes a mess of your shirt.
Also, considering who is visiting this little lagoon, why does the council imagine that talking about pH will mean anything at all?
Telling people there are dead animals and floating turds in the water, when people can see for themselves that there are not, is more than futile. It means that anyone looking at the sign will say ‘well, they are lying about that, so it’s probably all lies’.
As for it causing thrush, pH 11 is not what causes thrush. That’s an infection by a yeast called Candida (it was called that long before the chavs picked up the name) and not by alkalinity. Even Candida would struggle to stay alive at pH 11. It’s true that taking the body’s acidic defences into neutral territory by immersing it in alkaline solution would allow an infection to overcome those defences, but that alone cannot cause the infection. The infective agent has to be there at the time.
Nobody comes out of this looking intelligent. The council are looking for ways to fence off something that is on private land, knowing full well that any remote fenced-off area will have holes in that fence within a week. The idiots in the water think they have a cheap version of Ibiza, while they sit on banks of limestone and paddle around among the wreckage in water that isn’t blue because it’s clean – it’s blue because it’s not.
I’d say, put up the warning signs and leave it at that. If people choose to ignore the warnings and take the risk, leave them to it. They are, in effect, trespassing in order to immerse themselves in something nasty but if that’s what they want to do, I wouldn’t stand in their way. The owner of this defunct quarry isn’t bothered by their presence, apparently, and most (probably all) of the junk dumped in there has nothing to do with that owner either.
The owner is not inviting them, so the owner is not responsible for them. The council don’t own the land so they are not responsible either. The most likely accident there is that someone will step on something sharp, or get caught up in underwater wreckage. Who is responsible?
The ones trespassing, ignoring the signs and playing around in the muck are responsible for their own actions.
It’s about time people learned what that actually means. So let them play.