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Fears rivers and sea ‘will not be fit to swim in’ this summer

02 Feb 2024 2 minute read
Aerial view of Porthcawl beach harbour and fun fair. Photo Bridgend County Borough Council

Lewis Smith Local Democracy Reporter

Fears that bathing waters could become unusable in the  have been raised at a full council meeting in one Welsh local authority this month.

The discussions came after Councillor Ian Williams of Oldcastle ward, Bridgend asked cabinet members for an update on sewage discharges in the area, and how they had affected local rivers and seas.

As part of a supplementary question, he also said some authorities in the south of England had worked with water boards to monitor water quality in real-time by installing water buoys – and asked what was being done to reduce the levels of pollution in Vale of Glamorgan and Bridgend.


Cabinet member John Spanswick said from the data made available by Welsh Water, the situation with water quality currently looked worse than it was three years ago, adding Bridgend Council isn’t a water authority, with Natural Resources Wales being responsible for overseeing Welsh Water.

He also noted overflows from the Ogmore treatment works had taken place as recently as earlier in the month of January, and said there was lots of work members could do to lobby Welsh Water to see what it is doing to deal with the level of pollution in the local rivers and seas.

He said: “Bathing waters at the river Ogmore last year were monitored for the first time in a long time, and the results of that monitoring was that the bathing water in Ogmore-by-Sea this summer will not be fit to swim in, there will have to be signs put up warning people not to swim in the waters and that’s not good enough.”

It comes after a report about the quality of bathing spots across Wales was released by the Welsh Government in December, with both Ogmore-by-Sea and Watch House Bay in Barry being classified as ‘poor’, meaning the water had not met the minimum standard.

Moving forward, Cllr Spanswick said the leader of the council, Huw David had  invited the chief executive of Welsh Water to come to a future council meeting for a presentation and question and answer session with members.


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