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2023 Bathing Water Profile for Penbryn

  • Penbryn is a large sandy beach backed by a dune system and cliffs. The beach is operated by the National Trust and running across it is a small stream known as the Nant Hoffnant. Penbryn is a very rural beach with only a small amount of parking. The majority of the parking is a few hundred metres back up the valley at Penbryn village. The beach is popular with surfers, canoeists and kayakers. There are many caravan parks in the area, offering a wide range of facilities and the beach is popular as a stop-off point for walkers using the Ceredigion coastal path. Natural Resources Wales's designated sample point is located to 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 15th of May) and mid-season if required (during the bathing water season).
  • There are no known Dŵr Cymru assets in the vicinity of this bathing water.
  • Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water has no assets in the vicinity of this bathing water
  • Natural Resources Wales and Ceredigion County Council will work together to improve the bathing water quality at Penbryn.
  • 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.
  • None known at present.
  • 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.
  • 2023 Bathing Water Profile for Penbryn
  • Streams are typically affected by sewage or industrial run off from further up the catchment. Penbryn may be influenced by the nearby Afon Hoffnant which enters the sea at the bathing water. This stream will be monitored during the bathing season. High flows in streams, rivers and sewers during heavy rainfall may affect water quality at the bating water.
  • Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water has no assets in the vicinity of this bathing water
  • 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 Penbryn, data are available for the four year assessment period from 2020-2023. 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 ten and twenty per cent of occasions. Oil and tarry residues were not noted at this site.
  • Pollution prevention visits have been undertaken by Natural Resources Wales at agricultural premises throughout the Hoffnant catchments. As part of this process, Natural Resources Wales assessed slurry and manure storage, and potential sources of contamination from farm yards which could adversely impact bathing waters. Advice and guidance was given to farm owners about responsibly managing nutrients, and where needed, improvements are identified and implemented through voluntary and regulatory means.
  • Natural Resources Wales places a high value on public participation in helping to identify environmental pollution. 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 predominantly agricultural. The Afon Hoffnant, which runs onto the beach drains agricultural land and may contain sources of diffuse pollution during rainfall.
  • Penbryn

  • 2023 38675:1

    • 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 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.
    • Discharges from sewage treatment works have improved substantially in Wales since the 1980s.

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