2014 Bathing Water Profile for Saundersfoot

  • Measuring approximately 900 metres in length and facing south east into Carmarthen Bay, this beach is sandy with a pebble bank above the high tide mark. Backed by a promenade, the beach has a small harbour to the south end, with Saundersfoot village in the immediate background. The beach forms part of Carmarthen Bay Special Area of Conservation, confirming the high conservation status of the area. The bathing water also lies within Pembrokeshire Coast National Park. The water quality sample point is located directly in line with the slip road onto the beach.
  • Pembrokeshire
  • Natural Resources Wales continues to work with Pembrokeshire County Council, Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water and the Harbour Commissioners to identify any sources of pollution. 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).
  • Discharges from storm overflows can occur within the vicinity of the bathing water. These discharges occur when heavy rainfall overwhelms the sewage system, causing diluted sewage to spill. These protect domestic properties in Saundersfoot from being flooded by sewage during periods of heavy rainfall.
  • The Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water Sewage System in Saundersfoot is pumped to Tenby Sewage Treatment works.
  • Natural Resources Wales, Pembrokeshire County Council and Saundersfoot Harbour Commissioners have been working together to maintain the bathing water quality at Saundersfoot for a number of years.
  • This bathing water does not have a history of large amounts of seaweed (macroalgae).
  • 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 has a history of such blooms.
  • 2014 Bathing Water Profile for Saundersfoot
  • Streams and rivers are typically affected by sewage or industrial run off from further up the catchment. Saundersfoot Beach is heavily influenced by the freshwater of Saundersfoot stream, which runs through the harbour and across the beach.
  • There are no sewage treatment works which discharge in the vicinity of this bathing water.
  • Significant areas of pastureland, occupied by livestock, feature in the largely agricultural catchment of Saundersfoot. A program of farm visits is carried out each year, to monitor farming methods and share best practice.
  • Natural Resources Wales works closely with Saundersfoot Harbour Commissioners. The impoundment basin to the rear of the harbour is used to control the flow of water through the harbour. This can result in sediment build up and the potential to accumulate nutrients and polluting matter, which can affect bathing water quality. 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. Natural Resources Wales places a high value on public participation in helping to trace sources of environmental pollution. Natural Resources Wales welcomes any comments or information from the pubic with regards to environmental pollution.
  • The natural drainage (hydrological) catchment surrounding the bathing water begins with Saundersfoot Village, along the sea front, with a number of residential, holiday homes and campsites further. The upper reaches of the catchment are predominantly agricultural.
  • 2014 38000:1

    • 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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