Warning for swimmers after Welsh Water sewage spill in Anglesey
A beach in North Wales has reportedly been contaminated by human waste due to a sewage discharge from a nearby sewer overflow.A pollution alert has been issued for Traeth Benllech on Anglesey in a Surfers Against Sewage map that tracks combined sewer overflows (CSOs) and pollution risk forecasts (PRFs).
The alert states sewage has been discharged from a sewer overflow within the past 48 hours.
Welsh Water/Dŵr Cymru confirmed it had carried out a 'consented spill' after heavy rain to stop homes from being backed up with sewage.
Combined sewer overflows are safety release valves that pump out human waste from the sewage system into rivers or the sea, away from homes, during periods of heavy rainfall.
They have been the subject of public debate over the past week after Tory MPs voted against an amendment to the Environment Bill that would have put a legal duty on water companies to stop raw sewage from being dumped into waterways.
Every Conservative MP in north Wales voted against the amendment, apart from Wrexham MP Sarah Atherton who did not register a vote.
However, on Wednesday, the UK Government U-turned and announced legal controls will be placed on water companies that dump raw sewage in rivers and the sea after a significant backlash.
An interactive map by the Rivers Trust shows where the sewerage network discharges and overflows into rivers. The brown spots mark the locations where spills have occurred over the past 24 hours.
The larger spots represent the areas where there have been over 100 spills in that period.They show sewage spills across parts of several major north Wales rivers, including the Afon Dyfrdwy (River Dee) and Afon Conwy.
The Rivers Trust says people should "avoid entering the water immediately downstream of these discharges and avoid the overflows (brown circles), especially after it has been raining".
Swallowing water contaminated by sewage can make people sick as it can contain risk bacteria such as salmonella and E.coli. Diseases such as hepatitis A and leptospirosis have also been linked to sewage water.
Dŵr Cymru statement
A Dŵr Cymru spokesperson said: "Our combined storm overflows (CSOs) play an essential role in stopping sewage from backing up into customers’ properties during periods of heavy rain.
"They are designed to release storm waters into rivers or the sea and their operation is highly regulated and closely monitored by our regulator Natural Resources Wales.
“Due to the heavy rainfall seen in the Benllech area on Wednesday, we had a consented spill from our CSO in Benllech. This is fully compliant with our operating permit from NRW.“We are committed to being open and transparent with our spill data and provide real time spill information on identified beaches, which includes Benllech, to interested groups to notify them of a spill”.