News

No plans to fix sewer system that has ‘lumps of poo’ running down a main road

02 Nov 2021 4 minutes Read
A flooded drain. Picture by Ruth Hartnup (CC BY 2.0).

Richard Evans, local democracy reporter

Welsh Water have no plans to fix a flooding sewer system, despite rivers of human excrement regularly running down a main road into a tributary of the River Conwy.

“Lumps of poo” seep from a manhole cover at the lay-by on the A5 at Capel Curig whenever rainfall is heavy, the sewage stream carrying used toilet paper towards farm fields and a river.

The sewage then runs into the Afon Llugwy, a tributary of the River Conwy, raising serious environmental fears.

The lay-by is between Capel Curig and the nearby army camp, but angry councillors say the problem has persisted for nearly 20 years.

It’s thought the problem is caused by narrow pipes in a sewage system that dates back to Victorian times.

But despite an outcry, Welsh Water admit they have no plans to carry out work.

Conwy county councillor Liz Roberts says she has written to both Welsh Water (Dwr Cymru) and Natural Resources Wales without success.

“I’ve been a councillor since 2004, and the problem has been there since then and before,” she said.

“We’ve reported it and reported it to Dwr Cymru, and all they say is ‘it’s only a hamlet’ and ‘we don’t get enough reports coming in to go to the top of the list to be actioned’.

“We are told they are Victorian drains, so they fill up very quickly. But the main sewer that comes down into the village is nine inches wide but goes into a six-inch pipe heading to the treatment works, and they know that is what the problem is.

“The sewage raises the lid off the manhole. It is disgusting. There are lumps of poo all over the place, and you can see it in the field as well. People are in despair because neither the NRW nor Dwr Cymru are seemingly doing anything about it and expect the community to keep on reporting it.”

She added: “We are never going to have sufficient complaints to warrant it being high on their list.”

Cllr Gethin Davies sits on the community council.

“It’s been going on for a long while,” he said. “Following heavy rainfall, it flows out of the manhole cover and then runs down the lay-by.

“Obviously there is a health risk, and it’s very unsightly having toilet paper and raw sewage lying around at a popular lay-by, and we are worried about the health side as well as it flows into a ditch and into the stream.”

‘Good working order’

But despite the environmental and health concerns, a spokeswoman for Welsh Water said they had no plans to fix the sewer system.

“We are aware of flooding from a combined sewer network near the lay-by in Capel Curig and fully understand local concerns regarding the situation,” she said.

“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 as we have seen over the past few weeks. 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.”

Natural Resources Wales operations manager Iwan Williams said: “We’re 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.”

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Eric Hall
28 days ago

Just remind me again. How much has been paid in dividends to shareholders of water companies since the system was privatised

Mark
Mark
27 days ago
Reply to  Eric Hall

according to a Guardian article from last year, English water companies have paid on average over £2 billion per year to share holders in the last 30 years

George Bodley
George Bodley
27 days ago
Reply to  Eric Hall

Welsh water is a not for profit company back in the day when all water was publicly owned there was still not enough investment made yo the crumbling victorian sewage system i would like to see all utilities brought back into public ownership but it will still take billions and s lot of time to bring them upto standard

Llywelyn ein Llyw Nesaf
Llywelyn ein Llyw Nesaf
27 days ago
Reply to  Eric Hall

To shareholders in Dwr Cymru: zero. But years of under-investment cannot be undone by more years of under-investment. If we want to replace the sewers faster we have to be happy to pay

Sion Cwilt
Sion Cwilt
24 days ago
Reply to  Eric Hall

Dwr Cymru is a not-for-profit company with no shareholders. However, this doesn’t absolve them of their responsibility to ensure that their infrastructure is in good working order and isn’t allowing untreated sewage to leak from their system.

Tabor
Tabor
28 days ago

“Not for Profit “Dwr Cymru ble Mae yr Arian yn mynd mae’r sefyllfa yma yn Porthmadog yr union run fath carthion wedi ei malurio yn dal yn garthion sydd yn mynd ir afon Glaslyn .Mae angen gwahanur dwr glan ar dwr budur?.

CapM
CapM
28 days ago

For some reason practically everyone in the media has adopted the infantile term “poo” rather than use the term “faeces”.
It can’t be long before the media decides that “poo” is too unpleasant a term and they start talking about “big jobs”. Then eventually TV newscasters will just silently mouth “big jobs” and grimace so as not to offend sensitive viewers.

Mark
Mark
27 days ago
Reply to  CapM

Oh come on! surely it’s “number 2’s”

Ifan
27 days ago
Reply to  CapM

It’s because ‘poo’ is a quote from the Cllr speaking in the article, and when using quote marks as in the title it must be an accurate representation of his words.

Otherwise, we would have used the technical term, ‘doo-doo’.

Best,

Ifan

Sion Cwilt
Sion Cwilt
24 days ago
Reply to  CapM

Stop talking crap!

David
David
28 days ago

Direct Action would mean taking the water + poo and dumping them outside the doors of Dwr Cymru offices.

George Bodley
George Bodley
27 days ago
Reply to  David

Yep that would get it fixed NOT

Last edited 27 days ago by George Bodley
Mark
Mark
27 days ago

What if lots of us wrote letters of complaint to Dwr Cymru (Welsh Water) not just residents?

David
David
27 days ago
arthur owen
27 days ago

Don’t worry I will try not to post anything controversial again,I will try and stick with routine denunciations of England. OK

Andrew
Andrew
27 days ago

Dump a pile of steaming Richard the thirds outside the offices of the shareholders. ‘Poo Cymru, for shareholders, not for Wales’.

Llywelyn ein Llyw Nesaf
Llywelyn ein Llyw Nesaf
27 days ago
Reply to  Andrew

Dwr Cymru doesn’t have any shareholders. It is a mutual company, not-for-profit. Unlike the English water companies. But that doesn’t give them a magic money tree.

Ap Kenneth
Ap Kenneth
27 days ago

It does when it comes to the directors and CEO remuneration! 19/20 Chris Jones £678K, Peter Perry £556K, (Glas Cymru report includes benefits, pension and other bonusesLTVP(?))

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