Swimmers dread filth in sea and beaches on Boxing Day

As they prepare for their customary holiday plunge in the water, swimmers express concern regarding sewage.

The annual water quality report by Surfers Against Effluent stated that effluent was discharged in Wales for over 600,000 hours in the previous year.

The advocacy organisation is requesting that water providers furnish up-to-date information regarding the location and timing of effluent discharges.

According to Welsh Water and Hafren Dyfrdwy, substantial investments are made to enhance water quality.

Additionally, they claim to provide more data than other water companies.

However, David Hanham and his wife maintain that their local Gower shoreline is not “safe” for their children due to the fact that their toddler became ill after swimming in the water.

They reportedly observed sediment in the pools while playing with their son in Brandy Cove.

It is anecdotal; therefore, it cannot be proven.

“Our local shore is not considered to be child-safe,” David stated.

He mentioned that his family paddle-boarded through what he believed to be raw sewage on another occasion.

Farmer’s View on Water Pollution

“The water turned brown from its original clear colour.” Unmistakably, a slick of effluent.”

Gower farmer Robert Morgan stated that although he enjoys weekly swimming in the ocean, he also had some concerns.

Although a poor swim is impossible to achieve, would you prefer to emerge feeling ill?

Combined sewerage systems utilise the same pipelines that transport rainwater and sewage from kitchens, bathrooms, and toilets to treatment facilities.

In order to prevent system overload, treatment facilities are permitted to release untreated sewage during periods of intense precipitation.

It is possible, however, for plants to violate their permits if they discharge an excessive amount of effluent.

Prior to this, Welsh Water acknowledged that it unlawfully discharged untreated effluent from its facilities.

Additionally, land-based pesticides, agricultural refuse, and private sewage systems have the potential to contaminate rivers and oceans.

Alun Moseley of Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) stated that he frequently suffered from ear infections and diarrhoea, which he attributed to submerging in contaminated water, despite being an “extremely enthusiastic surfer.”

Although the fact that promises are being made is extremely encouraging, he stated that action must be taken immediately.

Water Quality Assurance Efforts in Wales

Welsh Water stated that the SAS report disregarded the investments made to enhance water quality in rivers and seas, which contributed to the region having 25% of the United Kingdom’s Blue Flag beaches despite having only 15% of the coastline.

The statement continued, “We acknowledge that there is still work to be done, which is why we are conducting more research than other water companies to assess the environmental impact of our assets, including storm overflows. In partnership with our environmental authorities, we can determine the many elements that affect bathing water quality.”

It intends to introduce a storm overflow map with near-real-time updates on the operational status of storm overflows. This will include designated bathing waters and certain non-designated waters in 2024.

Although it was accountable for a negligible proportion of river breaches in Wales, Hafren Dyfrdwy, which serves portions of the north-east and mid-Wales, stated that it took its responsibility for river health extremely seriously and was collaborating with others to ensure rivers were as healthy as possible.

The organisation tasked with monitoring water quality, Natural Resources Wales (NRW), stated that although it had witnessed significant progress in recent years, it was still implementing measures to reduce sewage overflows.

It was stated that in cases where pollution incidents are attributable to water companies’ performance, the organisation has consistently communicated its expectations and advocated for substantial progress, including increased funding to mitigate the detrimental effects of sewage overflows on the environment.

Internationally, Wales is renowned for its exceptional beaches and water quality, which is considered unparalleled in Europe. Maintaining excellent bathing water quality is crucial for sustaining valuable opportunities for outdoor water recreation, according to the Welsh government.

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