Somerset beauty spot owner warns water is too polluted to swim in

The owner of Tellisford Weir says the river is too polluted to swim in.

The owner of Tellisford Weir on the River Frome is warning people not to swim there, saying it is too polluted.

As the temperature soared yesterday people flocked to the Somerset beauty spot looking for somewhere to cool off.

But Anthony Battersby, who co-owns the weir with his wife, says the water quality along that stretch of the River Frome is so poor, that people risk becoming ill.

Anthony Battersby will only wear a wetsuit to go into the water and carry out maintenance. Credit: ITV West Country

"As you can see it is filthy dirty," he said. "The water here is one and three-quarter metres deep and you can't see the bottom."

He said people shouldn't swim in the river "because it is dirty and people get sick."

Anthony said one of the reasons the river by Tellisford Weir is polluted is because there are thirty sewage overflows nearby, which can pump raw sewage into the water when there's heavy rain.  The Environment Agency has also recorded nearly 50 different chemicals in the water, some of which are down to agricultural run-off.

"If you like swimming in what you and your friends ate three days ago then the River Frome beckons," Anthony said.

"I would say to people be very careful and do not put your head under water."

In a statement, Wessex Water said: “The river flows through an extensive rural catchment where there are many sources that could affect water quality – including wildlife and agricultural run-off – so there will always be bacteria in the water.

The Environment Agency has also recorded nearly 50 different chemicals in the water. Credit: ITV West Country

"All of our storm overflows near Tellisford, which are permitted by the Environment Agency, are monitored. Additionally, we carry out extensive monitoring in the wider catchment that looks at river flows and water quality.

"We're investing £3 million every month to improve overflows and the frequency that they operate during wet weather."