Plus-shaped pool will offer New Yorkers a cleaner swim in the river

The journey from having a neat idea to actually realizing it can be long and arduous, as shown by the + Pool. Some 13 years after we first saw it, the plan to creating a floating and self-filtering swimming pool that helps New Yorkers cool off is finally set to go ahead.

New York State Governor Kathy Hochul recently announced that New York State and New York City officials have committed a combined US$16 million to realize the + Pool.

Once complete, the first pool will measure roughly 9,000 sq ft (around 830 sq m) and will float on an as-yet-undisclosed NYC river, with a tether down to the river bed to hold it in place. It will be accessed by a walkway from the shore and the idea is that due to its plus shape, it can be divided and used as a children's pool, lounging pool, and for water sports and lap swimming simultaneously. Or alternatively, two sections or even all four can be used at once.

According to + Pool, the pool will filter the surrounding polluted river water through its walls "without chemicals or additives."

"Friends of + Pool has engineered a filtration system that brings raw river water to an acceptable microbiological standard for swimming, and patented the design," explained a representative of the firm. "The team has utilized the United States Environmental Protection Agency's water quality modeling software, the Water Quality Analysis Simulation Program version 8.1, to model the system and to determine that it is possible to ensure + Pool's water quality without the use of chemical disinfectants."

The first + Pool prototype will be installed later this year. The plan is to test it and, assuming all goes well, it will open for use, free to the public, in mid-2025. Further pools are also planned elsewhere, though it's early days yet.