2014 Bathing Water Profile for Aberporth

  • Known locally as Traeth Dolwen, the beach is sheltered, north facing and situated west of the Aberporth Town. The beach is approximately 100 metres wide, slopes gently and is sandy. The coastal waters and coastal belt are designated as the Cardigan Bay Special Area of Conservation, confirming the high conservation status of the area. The water quality sample point is located at the centre of the beach.
  • Ceredigion
  • Natural Resources Wales continues to work with Ceredigion County Council and Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water to establish sources of pollution around the beach. Inspections are carried out by Natural Resources Wales in partnership with the local authority and the water company. These are carried out pre-season (before the 1st of May) and mid-season if required (during the bathing water season).
  • Aberporth is potentially impacted by numerous storm, emergency and surface water outfalls, both along the foreshore and within the main freshwater inputs, particularly during heavy rainfall. Within the catchment of Aberporth bathing water, there are numerous storm, emergency and surface water outfalls that discharge into the rivers, the Nant Gilwen and Afon Howni. These discharge onto and next to the designated water quality sample point. These protect domestic properties in Aberporth from being flooded by sewage during heavy rainfall. However, sewer overflows operating during and following periods of heavy rainfall, can result in a deterioration in the quality of the water in rivers and at the bathing water. In recent years, telemetry equipment has been installed in most of the overflows by Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water. This technology has allowed Dŵr Cymru to respond to warnings of blockages in the sewerage system, reducing the number of actual and potential overflows.
  • Natural Resources Wales has developed a good working relationship with Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water and liaises regularly to identify problems that could affect bathing water quality.
  • Natural Resources Wales and Ceredigion County Council have been working together to improve the bathing water quality at Aberporth for a number of years. A sewage treatment works, operated by the local authority at Blaenporth, has been identified for improvement.
  • This bathing water does not have a history of large amounts of seaweed (macroalgae).
  • Wrongly connected waste water pipes can affect the water quality of rivers and the sea. Natural Resources Wales is working with Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water and Ceredigion County Council to trace the sources of pollution from household toilet and utility misconnections, to the private and public surface water system, discharging to Aberporth. Modern sewerage systems have two separate systems, one takes foul sewage to sewage treatment, the other takes rainwater runoff through surface water drains to rivers, lakes and the sea. Misconnections occur when waste water pipes are plumbed into surface water drains instead of the foul water sewerage system. This can give rise to pollution when the waste water is discharged directly to the environment through the surface water drain. For example, a washing machine or toilet may be incorrectly plumbed so that it discharges to the surface drain rather than the foul sewage drain.
  • Phytoplankton (microscopic algae) naturally increase in number at certain times of the year. This process is known as a phytoplankton bloom. These algal blooms can occur at any beach during the bathing season and are usually noticeable by a surface scum. This beach does not have a history of such blooms.
  • 2014 Bathing Water Profile for Aberporth
  • Streams are typically affected by sewage or industrial run off from further up the catchment. Aberporth is influenced by two main fresh water rivers, the rivers Nant Gilwen and Afon Howni. High flows in streams, rivers and sewers due to heavy rainfall affects water quality in the bay.
  • Aberporth Sewage Treatment Works discharges directly offshore to the east of Aberporth Bay. Disinfection of the effluent through a membrane filtration treatment protects the bathing water quality.
  • Natural Resources Wales continues to work with private owners regarding potential pollution sources to the bathing water. This work involves where necessary, advisory mail drops, dye tracing, misconnection surveys and face to face meetings. Poorly maintained private sewage treatment facilities could be a source of pollution, therefore the registration of all qualifying private sewage systems in Wales was required by 30 June 2012. The primary aim of this exercise is to provide increased protection for the environment and sensitive features such as bathing water beaches. Where discharges from properties are identified in the catchment that are not on mains sewerage, Natural Resources Wales will endeavour to ensure registration has been made, unless already a permitted discharge.
  • The natural drainage (hydrological) catchment surrounding the bathing water is urbanised, with residential properties and a small retail sector. There is a Ministry of Defence establishment located to the west of the bay. The upper reaches of the catchment are predominantly agricultural and the Nant Gilwen flows directly onto the beach. The larger Nant Howni, to the north of the bay, may also influence the bathing water quality.
  • 2014 38660:1

    • Seaweed (macroalgae) and phytoplankton (microscopic algae) are a natural part of the marine and freshwater environment. Below we note whether these have been recorded in quantities sufficient to be a nuisance.
    • The majority of sewers in England and Wales are “combined sewers” and carry both sewage and surface water from roofs and drains. A storm overflow operates during heavy rainfall when the sewerage system becomes overwhelmed by the amount of surface water. The overflow prevents sewage from backing up pipes and flooding properties and gardens. An emergency overflow will only operate infrequently, for example due to pump failure or blockage in the sewerage system.
    • Heavy rain falling on pavements and roads often flows into surface water drains or highway drains, ending up in local rivers and, ultimately, the sea. The quality of bathing water may be adversely affected as a result of such events.
    • It is the Environment Agency and Natural Resources Wales role to drive improvement of water quality at bathing waters that are at risk of failing European standards. It is natural for water to run off the land to the sea. Water quality at a bathing water is dependent upon the type and area of land (the catchment) draining to the water and the activities undertaken in that catchment.
    • Discharges from sewage treatment works have improved substantially in England and Wales since the 1980s.

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