The level at Rivers of the Far West, the largest body of water in the Disneyland Park, has been slowly receding since 2 November. This has nothing to do with a draught or global warming. It is simply because the lake is being fully drained for the first time since the opening of Disneyland® Paris. This thorough clean-up will also benefit Big Thunder Mountain and Thunder Mesa Riverboat Landing, two attractions currently closed for renovation. Marilya Chatzistamatiou, our Technical Environment Expert, explains the challenges and the implementation of this project.
“For nearly five years now we have been studying, together with the environment teams, the possibility of an in-depth cleaning of the lake. Over the last 23 years, the sediments and algae have proliferated and this over time can ultimately produce an eutrophic lake [a shallow body of water that has an excessive concentration of plant nutrients causing algae blooms that may in the long term be more or less toxic to fish, animals and humans]. Given the lack of transparency, it was also increasingly difficult to ensure the proper maintenance of the water around and under Riverboat Landing. But now, the major refurbishment of Big Thunder Mountain offers us the perfect opportunity to completely drain out the lake”, Marilya – a confirmed water engineer and an environment expert at Disneyland Paris – confides.
Rivers of the Far West was filled with drinking water until now. It first underwent a two-month long night dredging in order to clean the bottom of the basin from the impressive amount of mud and waste accumulated over the years. The water is receding progressively and it will take at last 3 weeks. Mid-way through the process and for two days, the Fédération de Seine-et-Marne pour la pêche et la protection du milieu aquatique (Seine-et-Marne Federation for fishing and protection of the aquatic environment) will supervise an electric fishing operation to remove all the fish which will be placed in other basins throughout our destination, whether in the lagoon at Adventureland, Lake Disney or the water bodies at Golf Disneyland. The final phase of the dredging operation will include the in-depth cleaning of the bottom of the lake by special vehicles. The teams will take the opportunity to check the water tightness of the basin and piping systems around. During this phase the large construction machines needed for the refurbishment of Big Thunder Mountain will also go through the empty rivers to check the equipment at Thunder Mesa Riverboat Landing as well.
“Nearly 800 m3 of water will be stored in our water treatment plant, and 42 500 m3 will be poured into retention basin n°4 of the municipality of Chessy right next to our destination, to which of course the SAN of Val d’Europe has already agreed”, Marilya points out. “When we fill up the lake again the drinking water will be combined with the treated and purified water, which is more environmentally friendly”.
Water will be poured into Rivers of the Far West again in June 2016, while the two attractions will only reopen at the end of the same year. They will be completely renovated, much to our guests’ pleasure. We will be looking into all the technical challenges this will represent in our next articles on Disneyland Paris News. Don’t forget to check it out regularly!