The picturesque seaside that is been branded a ‘no go’ zone amid filthy water | UK | News | EUROtoday

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On the windswept but sun-drenched shores of Ogmore-by-Sea within the Vale of Glamorgan, a smattering of households, canine lovers and campers are drawn to the seaside’s attract. The golden sands stretch out earlier than them, punctuated by rock swimming pools and providing vistas of Porthcawl and Merthyr Mawr it is no marvel this spot is a favorite amongst south Wales’ beachgoers.

Despite its simple appeal and pure magnificence, Ogmore-by-Sea has the doubtful distinction of being one of many two worst seashores in Wales for water high quality, with official recommendation in opposition to swimming right here. In 2023, each Ogmore-by-Sea seaside in St Brides Major and Watch Tower Bay in Barry, recognised bathing spots, had been examined by Natural Resources Wales (NRW).

Out of 109 Welsh areas, these two had been the one ones to obtain a ‘poor’ ranking because of excessive micro organism ranges.

The drawback seems to be escalating. Recent assessments have seen the water high quality at Ogmore by Sea labelled as “abnormal” by NRW, attributed to elevated bacterial counts.

While the precise explanation for the air pollution stays unverified, Welsh Water has expressed skepticism over issues that the Penybont remedy works may be leaking, experiences Wales Online.

However, there are different potential culprits for the air pollution. Four of Wales’ most prolific sewage outflows, which launch all the things we flush down our bogs into the river community throughout heavy rain, all in the end movement into the River Ogmore and attain the ocean close to the beautiful seaside.

An outflow on the River Llynfi in Maesteg, two outflows onto the River Garw close to Bryngarw, and one at Ewenny all pour into the river. In complete, they discharged sewage into the river for 17,551 hours final yr.

And these are simply the main ones; there are quite a few smaller outflows on the Ogmore and its tributaries.

As issues had been raised for swimmers’ security, Vale of Glamorgan council suggested folks to not swim at both websites. The kind of micro organism that was detected got here predominantly from sewage and agriculture, in addition to different sources.

As you stroll from the automobile park to the seaside, indicators warning swimmers to “stay away from the sea” have been printed out on laminated A4 posters – one thing that dad-of-three Chris Budding didn’t see earlier than he plunged into the water. Originally from Gloucestershire, Chris and his household have come right here for the day.

“We just got recommended to this beach by a family friend,” he explains. “They said that this was a really nice place to come to and this is our first time here. We put our feet in the sea, which was nothing too crazy.”

“We didn’t notice it was like that, but it does seem worrying. Nothing stood out [signage]we got out of the car, paid, went to the toilets, then went down here.”

Chris and his household aren’t the one ones to enterprise out to the ocean that day. Despite a breezy forecast, some have seemingly gone additional into the ocean of their swimming wear.

Upon listening to the current information about Ogmore-by-Sea seaside poor rankings, Chris mentioned: “It’s not ideal, it makes you want to go for a good wash. It’s so easy to touch the water and then touch your face. It’s a beautiful, lovely location – it’s a shame that a place like this is affected by it. The last thing you want to do is go to a beach like this and then become ill after a family day out.”

Chris is not the one one to voice his issues about folks’s security. At the start of June, Mark Ryan, the chairman of the Ogmore Angling Association which has greater than 300 members who repeatedly use the waters for fishing, mentioned that they had been involved in regards to the kids that went to the seaside to swim in addition to members from the angling affiliation who used the waters for leisure functions.

Mr Ryan has lamented the “sad state of repair” of the seaside, expressing the group’s want for motion. Mat Palkowski, an avid fisherman, confesses that the troubling experiences have made him “reluctant” to return to his favoured spot at Ogmore-by-Sea.

On a shiny Saturday morning, Mat and his associate Beth from Llanharan determined to take their beloved canine Charlie for a seaside stroll. The pair cherish the seaside as a treasured escape, a sentiment echoed by many locals.

“We do come here quite regularly,” shared Beth. “It’s nice, it’s local, it’s refreshing, the sun is shining. It’s just a nice kickstart to your day. Between here and Porthcawl, we come here around once a month. We’re quite lucky in this corner of south Wales. It’s just nice to come here in the morning with the dog.”

Despite being conscious of the disconcerting information in regards to the seaside, Beth stays drawn to its attract. “In the last five years, this beach looks like it has become cleaner,” she noticed.

Beth and Mat at Ogmore

Beth and Mat Palkowski from Bridgend love the seaside (Image: Mark Lewis)

“We were just saying this morning how blue and clear the sea looked. So it’s not very pleasant to hear there might be sewage here.”

She remarked: “It’s such a nice stretch of beach, the sand part is always clean but you do worry with the sea and how clean that is. I wouldn’t bathe in it, I haven’t bathed in it for years – I used to bring my children here when they were younger. It’s cold for a start but also it just doesn’t look clean. I think we’ll continue to come here for walks, it hasn’t put us off coming here but I just wouldn’t want to bathe in it.”

Despite the infamous sewage discharges into the river Ogmore, Dwr Cymru Welsh Water has but to pinpoint the precise explanation for the elevated bacterial ranges at Ogmore-by-Sea. Following the disclosure of irregular bacterial ranges, the corporate introduced “no leaks or significant faults have been found” and that additional probes have yielded no definitive solutions.

The difficulty of water air pollution in UK rivers and seas has just lately garnered elevated consideration. Shocking figures reveal that Dwr Cymru Welsh Water discharged sewage into numerous our bodies of water throughout Wales for over 916,000 hours in 2023.

Annabel and Dan Addams

Annabel and Dan Addams from Worcestershire spoke out in regards to the seaside (Image: Mark Lewis)

The firm reported a staggering 105,943 sewage spills in the identical yr, with a worrying 93% categorized as “significant”.

Over in England, the state of affairs seems much more dire, with sewage discharges into rivers and seas by water corporations greater than doubling in 2023. The Environment Agency disclosed a complete of three.6 million hours of sewage spills, a big bounce from the 1.75 million hours recorded in 2022.

Local resident Ella MacKrill from Bristol highlighted the disappointment of the state of affairs, stating: “We go swimming and we camp a lot. We will camp near beaches or rivers or lakes, so that we can go swimming there as well.”

She added: “It can look beautiful, but you never know if it’s clean. It makes you feel really sad and you feel let down. Swimming in places like this feels like it’s the last thing you can do that is really glorious and free. So to hear about the poor rating, is a massive shame”.

Worcestershire-based couple Annabel and Dan Addams, and their pooch Arlo, could not agree extra. They’ve chosen the south east Wales shoreline as their favorite spot.

“We love it here,” admits Annabel. “It’s quiet here and the dog can come here throughout the year. We come here in the summer with the kids as well. For the last three years, we’ve been coming here, and in the summer the kids come with us. There’s plenty of beach but it doesn’t feel commercial like other places.”

In gentle of current protection concerning the ocean’s water high quality, Dan expresses his disappointment, saying: “I thought this place used to be a really good one, it used to be really clean. It’s a shame because obviously someone has messed up somewhere. From what I’ve read, they still don’t know why.”

He additional commented: “You’d think they would find a better way of disposing rubbish, it’s such a beautiful area and then this is happening. It just feels like laziness, cost-cutting. And it makes you wonder how long this has been going on? “.

Water quality at Ogmore-by-Sea is very poor

Water high quality at Ogmore-by-Sea may be very poor (Image: Mark Lewis)

Both NRW and Welsh Water are persisting with their investigation into the air pollution incident. A current assertion from a Welsh Water spokesperson learn: “Following over 1,200 work hours of detailed investigations, analysis, trial holes, CCTV inspections, and 3D scanning of pipes and tanks, no leaks or significant faults have been found at the site and associated assets and drainage connected to the site.”

“Furthermore, extensive dye testing where dye is put into the wastewater to trace it through the process and to pinpoint leaks has not identified any leaks within the pipework or tanks on site or along the sewer network connected to the site. Over 1,000 pots of dye have been used over the course of our investigation but it should be noted that this dye does not have any impact on the environment.”

“Dye has been observed leaving the discharge point from the works i.e. where treated wastewater is discharged via an outfall to river Ogmore and a faint discolouration was observed reaching the channel where the pollution incident was initially reported. This seems to be due to the incoming tide driving river water up into the channel and thus carrying over the dye and potentially silt from the riverbed. The wastewater treatment works is operating and discharging as normal and compliant with its permits.”

“Our initial identification of a potential leak on site was later established to be a ground water pipe unrelated to our treatment works or sewer network. No further evidence of a leak has been identified.”

Ogmore is one of two beaches slammed for poor water

Ogmore is considered one of two seashores slammed for poor water (Image: Mark Lewis)

“Our examination of the “sludge” in the channel where the pollution incident was reported is not consistent with the microbiology of our biological process at the wastewater treatment plant. Therefore, we do not have evidence to pinpoint this material back to our treatment plant. Since we cannot find a route from our assets into the channel, the source of the pollution and our investigations remain inconclusive and we will continue to work with Natural Resources Wales.”

Fiona Hourahine, operations supervisor for Natural Resources Wales added: “We’re continuing our investigation of the pollution incident on the River Ogmore that could be impacting water quality at the Ogmore-by-Sea designated bathing water.”

“Dwr Cymru Welsh Water’s investigations at the Penybont wastewater treatment works have been inconclusive and the source of the pollution has not been identified. Our officers have been assessing the environmental impact by taking regular water samples from the river and bathing water.”

“We are waiting for the results from samples taken last week. If these show no issue with water quality, we will likely remove the abnormal situation at the Ogmore-by-Sea bathing water. We will continue working with Dwr Cymru Welsh Water to try and identify what happened and monitor the area for further pollution.”