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Arup hits back at Diana fountain critics

PRINCESS DIANA Memorial Fountain engineer Arup this week hit back strongly at critics of the £3.6M memorial, which has been closed since three tourists paddling in the water slipped and hurt themselves.

The design team had been annoyed by press reports suggesting that Arup was unaware granite was slippery when wet.

They are also angry about claims that engineers should have known that nutrients in the borehole water used would cause excessive algae growth in the stone water channel, making it difficult to walk on.

'All the 545 granite sections that make up the fountain complex were given textured surface finishes in the workshop, ' Arup water and environmental engineer Ian Carradice told NCE this week.

'Unfortunately there were two areas where this wasn't done properly and it had to be finished insitu.'

Carradice described reports of excessive algal growth as a 'non-story'.

He added: 'We chose water from a deep aquifer rather than potable mains water or water from the nearby Serpentine precisely because it would be the lowest nutrient option and have low metals content as well.

'Obviously there will be some build up of algae on wet surfaces despite high water velocities - but this was always expected and regular weekly cleaning was planned.'

The Royal Parks Commission is now trying to decide how to limit the unexpectedly large number of people and pets paddling and bathing in the fountain.

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