Morfa Nefyn is a large beach on the north of the Lleyn peninsula facing northwards. It is neighboured by Porth Dinllaen to the west and Porth Nefyn to the east. It is a predominantly sandy beach with a pebbly foreshore. The area is designated as the Porth Dinllaen I Borth Pistyll Site of Special Scientific Interest and the Sea cliffs of Lleyn Special Area of Conservation, with the Lleyn Peninsula and the Sarnau Special Area of Conservation to the west. The water quality sample point is in line with the car park.
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 15th of May) and mid-season if required (during the bathing water season).
A project known as Event Duration Monitoring (EDM) is underway to install telemetry on Combined Sewer Overflows (CSOs) within 2km of a bathing water by 2020 so that Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water (DCWW) know when the CSOs are operating and can work to reduce spills. Two CSOs near Morfa Nefyn are included in the project.
A surface water drain discharges onto the beach opposite the road providing access to the bathing water. Following periods of heavy rainfall this may result in elevated levels of pollution discharging to the beach. Dwr Cymru Welsh Water have investigated the drain for possible misconnections, but no conclusive evidence was found.
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.
Algal Blooms can occur at any beach during the bathing season and are usually noticeable by a surface scum. This beach has no history of such blooms.
Natural Resources Wales samplers make visual observations of the beach at every visit. This includes assessments of sewage debris, animal faeces, litter and oil or tar. At Morfa Nefyn, data are available for the four year assessment period from 2015-2018. Sewage debris was not observed at this bathing water. Trace amounts of animal faeces were noted at the site on a minority of occasions. Trace amounts of litter were observed at the bathing water on between thirty and forty per cent of occasions. Oil and tarry residues were not noted at this site.
Poorly maintained private sewage treatment facilities could be a source of pollution, therefore the registration of all private sewage systems in Wales was required by 30 June 2012. The primary aim of this exercise was to provide increased protection for the environment and sensitive features such as bathing water beaches. Where properties were identified in the catchment that were not on mains sewerage, Natural Resources Wales endeavoured to ensure registration was made
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 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 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. The following sections serve to highlight potential sources of pollution, conditions under which they may arise and measures being put in place to improve water quality.