Locally known as Traethmawr, this sandy beach is wide and sweeping, measuring some 1.5 kilometres in length. Facing north west out into the Irish Sea, the beach is backed by a golf club and agricultural land. A car park, public toilets and life guard building are located at the north east of the beach, accessible via the golf club road. The River Nevern (Afon Nyfer) flows into the sea to the south west of the bathing water, separating it from the historic town of Newport. The cliffs to the north of the bathing water are designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest, confirming the high conservation status of the area. The bathing water also lies within the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park. The bathing water sample point lies adjacent to the car park.
Natural Resources Wales continues to work with Pembrokeshire County Council and Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water to identify sources of pollution around Newport North bathing water. Recently, several in depth studies have been undertaken which form the basis of Natural Resources Wales’ pollution management.
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).
Discharges from combined sewer overflows can occur within the vicinity of the bathing water. These discharges occur when heavy rainfall overwhelms the sewerage system and causes diluted sewage to spill. This protects domestic properties in Newport from being flooded by sewage during heavy rainfall.
A storm overflow in Parrog is scheduled to be upgraded by Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water before the 2012 bathing season, which should reduce the frequency of spills. Other storm overflows located within the town may overflow during severe weather conditions, which may reduce water quality at the bathing water.
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 Newport North are included in the project.
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. The long sea outfall from Newport Wastewater Treatment Works was replaced in 2011.
Natural Resources Wales and Pembrokeshire County Council have been working together to improve the bathing water quality at Newport North bathing water for a number of years.
Natural Resources Wales meets with Newport Town Council and Newport Area Environment Group, to ensure councillors and residents are kept informed of possible issues impacting water quality, and to discuss concerns.
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.
This bathing water is subject to short term pollution. Short term pollution is caused when heavy rainfall washes faecal material into the sea from livestock, sewage and urban drainage via rivers and streams. At this site the risk of encountering reduced water quality increases after rainfall and typically returns to normal after 1-3 days. Natural Resources Wales works to reduce the sources of this pollution through pollution prevention measures, work with agriculture and water companies.
The Environment Agency makes daily pollution risk forecasts based on rainfall patterns on behalf of Natural Resources Wales and will issue a pollution risk warning if heavy rainfall occurs to enable bathers to avoid periods of increased risk. At Newport North there were a total of ten warnings of a pollution risk forecast during the 2018 bathing water season, with one sample being taken on a day that coincided with these warnings. These warnings were issued because of the effects of heavy rain on the water quality.
Streams and rivers are typically affected by sewage and industrial discharges within the catchment. They may also be vulnerable to diffuse pollution where agricultural activities occur. Surface water runoff from agricultural land can wash off agricultural chemicals and organic wastes into rivers and streams that may reduce water quality at the bathing water.
The River Nevern is known to have an impact on bathing water quality at Newport. Other than the River Nevern, there are several other small streams which drain into the bay. Following heavy rain, high flows in these rivers and streams may magnify the impact of diffuse pollution sources to this bathing water.
A relatively new sewage treatment works discharges biologically treated sewage effluent via the long sea outfall, some 700 m from the coast into Newport Bay. This biologically treated effluent helps protect bathing water quality at the beach.
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 Newport North, 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 ten and twenty per cent of occasions. Oil and tarry residues were not noted at this site.
Significant areas of pastureland, occupied by livestock, feature in the largely agricultural catchment of Newport. Natural Resources Wales is working with a number of farmers to tackle potential pollution sources at Newport North bathing water. A program of farm visits is carried out each year to monitor farming methods and share best practice.
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 is highly agricultural, with the residential town of Newport located 1 kilometre to the south. Most of the catchment is drained by the River Nevern, which flows through several small settlements including Crymych, Eglwswrw, Felindre Farchog and Nevern before reaching Newport.
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.