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Slurry spill kills fish in Carmarthenshire river

17 Feb 2023 2 minute read
The polluted stretch of the Afon Dulas, Carmarthenshire, on the evening of February 14

Richard Youle, local democracy reporter

Dead fish have been found after slurry spilled into a tributary of the River Towy in Carmarthenshire.

Natural Resources Wales (NRW) officers visited the scene of the spill in the Afon Dulas, north of Dryslwyn and just above where the Dulas merges with the Afon Sannan, on the evening of February 14.

A Dryslwyn resident, who asked not to be named, said it was around the fifth time polllution had blighted the Dulas in the 20 years he has lived there.

“On Valentine Day’s morning the river was crystal clear – fish had just started to return,” he said. “In the evening I came back to find the river brown.”

He said there was foam on the surface, and that he could smell effluent. He said the following day he could see a large smear of slurry on a nearby hill leading down to the river.

Sewin run

The man said the Dulas was a sewin (sea trout) run and that it was only just recovering from previous pollution incidents.

In July 2019 around 2,500 fish were killed when a three-mile stretch of the river was damaged by slurry pollution near Capel Isaac. Invertebrates were also badly affected. The culprit pleaded guilty in magistrates’ court the following year to an offence under Environmental Permitting Regulations and was fined a total of £11,366.

NRW said its officers attended the recent slurry spill on February 14 after the owner of the farm reported it.

A spokesman said: “Visibility was low at that time but the farmer had dug diversion ditches to slow the rate at which the slurry was running into the river.”

The following morning NRW officers counted nine dead fish, and a further survey is taking place determine what impact the spill has had. The regulator will decide what further action to take once the investigation has concluded.

Asked if the spill was likely to impact the nearby River Towy, the spokesman said: “Diverting ditches should now prevent any further run-off. Our environmental survey will assess how this has effected the Afon Dulas as well as how the Towy has been impacted.”

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