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Sewer pipe bursts in village set for major new housing development

01 May 2024 3 minute read
Surface water flooding in Porthyrhyd

Richard Youle, local democracy reporter

A sewer serving a village has burst, three days after residents urged the council not to approve a major new housing development because they claimed the infrastructure would not be able to cope.

Welsh Water was alerted to the burst pipe at Pontfaen, on the outskirts of Porthyrhyd, in Carmarthenshire on Sunday (28 April).

A spokesman said on Tuesday (30 April) that it had been repaired and that incidents like this did happen due to wear and tear.

Residents said they felt it backed up their argument that the council’s planning committee should not have granted permission for a development of 42 houses and flats at a meeting last Thursday.

Action group Mudiad Amddifyn Porthyrhyd, which opposed the development, claimed that Sunday’s burst pipe was another example of “a catalogue of incidents due to a failing system”.

The 42 homes proposed by Jones Bros (Henllan) Ltd and social housing provider Pobl Group, which include 29 affordable ones, will increase the size of Porthyrhyd by around 50%.


Welsh Water representatives appeared by video link at the planning meeting to say they were satisfied that foul drainage arrangements were satisfactory but that there were “operational issues within the catchment” relating to blockages and excessive water, that it was working with the council to resolve this, and that consideration would be given to future investment.

Resident Mair Evans claimed that rainfall caused sewer blockages which led to toilet paper and colostomy bags appearing on people’s lawns. Flooding problems, she said, could not be ignored.

Speaking on April 30, resident Bethan Jones said: “Who knows what will happen when they increase the size of the village in one development? Absolute madness.”

Another resident, who asked not to be named, said Welsh Water regularly carried out “preventative maintenance” at its pumping station in Porthyrhyd.

In her view the system could not cope. She said: “We’ve always said there is a problem with the system.” She said she saw the aftermath of last Sunday’s burst and described how it was “forcing up the Tarmac”.

Welsh Water said there was no capacity issue with the sewerage network serving the village.

A spokesman said: “We received a report of a burst on the sewer pipe at Pontfaen on Sunday (April 28) which our team has now repaired.

“Our system in the area is operating normally and bursts on high pressure sewer pipes like this can and do occur through normal wear and tear. We would like to apologise for any inconvenience caused by the burst.”

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Evan Aled Bayton
Evan Aled Bayton
21 days ago

What are colostomy bags doing being flushed away? Also the new development should have rainwater runoff separate from the sewer network to reduce the volume in the sewage system. Innovative ways of doing this including rainwater storage butts and separate rainwater runoff should be built in together with minimal hard patio and drive areas.

21 days ago

Hard patio and drive areas are deeply embedded in the psyche of our people. Decorative ( to some) easy to maintain ( less weeding!) and I guess fashionable. Try banning it and you’ll cause a bigger rash than that caused by the 20 mph stunt !

21 days ago

Just one of many areas where sewage and waste water systems are antiquated or have been overtaken by increased loading due to new housing developments. Makes one think that local authority planning don’t liaise with Dwr Cymru before giving permission to proceed with new builds.

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