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‘Lack of action on raw sewage’ at Welsh beauty spot prompts Plaid Cymru MS anger

29 Oct 2021 3 minute read
Picture by Manfred Heyde (CC BY-SA 3.0).

A Plaid Cymru MS has expressed anger at what he says is the the lack of action over raw sewage in a river at a Welsh beauty spot.

Llyr Gruffydd, who represents the North Wales in the Senedd, has spoken out on the matter after heavy rainfall has seen another outbreak hit Capel Curig in Conwy.

He said he suggested that “there seems to be no sense of urgency to deal” with the issue, and added that he is “staggered at the complacency in the response” of Natural Resources Wales, as well as the “failure to acknowledge the health risk from discharges of human waste into rivers”.

Earlier this year Mr Gruffydd met with local campaigners and councillors in Capel Curig to highlight problem of sewage and regular overflows in the village.

The response he received from Dwr Cymru – Welsh Water, which has responsibility for the waste, stated that Capel Curig was among 3,000 locations throughout Wales at risk of sewage overflow. The letter added that Capel Curig wasn’t in the top 500.

Mr Gruffydd said in response: “Once again we’re seeing heavy rainfall causing raw sewage to flow across fields and into the local river. It’s an issue that’s been highlighted by myself, local councillors and residents in the past but there seems to be no sense of urgency to deal with this or the thousands of other trouble spots in Wales.

“It beggars belief that there are 500 or more communities affected throughout Wales that are in a worse situation than Capel Curig – at what stage does Natural Resources Wales, which monitors water quality, start to take action to ensure we’re not facing a health crisis?

“I’m staggered at the complacency in the response and the failure to acknowledge the health risk from discharges of human waste into rivers and other water courses.”

‘Outflow pipe’ 

The letter from Welsh Water states that an outflow pipe taking sewage to the river was to be cleaned out by mid October.

Mr Gruffydd added: “If the work took place as promised, it’s clearly insufficient to address the underlying problem of insufficient capacity to meet demand.”

A spokesperson for Natural Resources Wales (NRW) said: “We are in discussions with Dwr Cymru – Welsh Water to consider appropriate mitigation measures to minimise the impacts of overflow as a result of extreme weather events.”

A spokesperson for Welsh Water said: ” We are aware of flooding from a combined sewer network near the layby in Capel Curig and fully understand local concerns regarding the situation.

“The combined sewer there carries wastewater and surface water, and while our investigations show that the system is in good working order, the flooding is linked to too much rainwater entering the system during periods of heavy rainfall. This is partly due to the more intense rainfall events we are now seeing due to climate change.

“As we operate a vast network of over 36,000km of sewers – which is enough to stretch to Australia and back – we have to prioritise our investment and work with other agencies to support those areas most at risk of flooding.

“This includes those areas where the local sewer networks get overwhelmed by extreme weather and flooding enters the homes of customers. As a result, while we do not have plans to undertake any work on the system in Capel Curig in the short term, we will keep this situation under review.”

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Y Cymro
Y Cymro
2 years ago

I totally understand Plaid MS Llyr Gruffydd anger & frustration. It looks as if our rivers, streams and lakes are now open sewers. It’s a reckless act. When those pollutants enter our rivers also taint our fish stocks & shellfish beds. And when the effluent reaches the coast subsequently washes back up on our blue flag beaches with the tide where we fish, swim in bathe. If Natural Resources Wales & Dwr Cymru actually cared about our environment would have built sufficient infrastructure to deal with any water overflow. It’s not good enough to make empty promises. Actions speak louder… Read more »

2 years ago

Dwr Cymru. Profit for shareholders, not the Cymru. Natural Resources Wales, what a shower.

Ed Jones
Ed Jones
2 years ago

Why would it matter if it was in the top 500, is this a poor TOTP tribute? Bizarre thing to include in a letter to an elected politician. Not good enough. Where are Robin Millar and/or Janet Finch-Saunders? Imagine if this was Rhos on Sea or Deganwy?! It would be sorted in days.

Phil Jones
Phil Jones
2 years ago

Can’t be long before we see cholera returning.

Carol Loughlin
Carol Loughlin
2 years ago

So raw sewage enters the Lledr at Capel Curig which then flows into the Conwy and is added to the raw sewage discharged at Llanrwst. Who knows how many other sewage outlets are discharging into this river network? It’s way past time to separate sewage from storm and surface water.

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