2014 Bathing Water Profile for Aberystwyth South

  • The sheltered, sloping sand and shingle beach is located in the middle of Cardigan Bay. The beach measures some 350 metres in width and is located between the castle and the harbour breakwater, backed by the Edwardian town of Aberystwyth. The water quality sample point is situated in 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).
  • Aberystwyth South is potentially impacted by numerous storm, emergency and surface water outfalls, within the main freshwaters, particularly during heavy rainfall. Within the catchment of Aberystwyth South bathing water, there are numerous storm, emergency and surface water outfalls that discharge into the rivers Rheidol and Ystwyth. These protect domestic properties from being flooded by sewage during heavy rainfall. However, sewer overflows operating during and following periods of heavy rain can result in reduced water quality of the streams and the bathing water. Most of the overflows operated by Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water are fitted with telemetry equipment. This technology allows Dŵr Cymru to respond to warnings of blockages in the sewage system and has reduced 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. In 2009, a rising main sewer system was significantly upgraded. This resulted in increased storage capacity and reduced storm overflows, that should improve the water quality at Aberystwyth South beach. Natural Resources Wales worked closely with Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water and their contractors DAWNUS, to ensure this work was completed, without causing pollution.
  • 2014 Bathing Water Profile for Aberystwyth South
  • Natural Resources Wales and Ceredigion County Council work together to improve the bathing water quality in Aberystwyth.
  • 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 continues to work 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 systems that discharge into Aberystwyth South bathing water. 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 Aberystwyth South
  • Streams are typically affected by sewage or industrial run off from further up the catchment. The beach is influenced by two large waters, the rivers Rheidol and Ystwyth. There are also surface water drains which empty into the bay which, after heavy rainfall may sometimes be a source of reduced water quality than usual. High flows in streams, rivers and sewers due to heavy rainfall can also affect water quality in the bay.
  • Aberystwyth Wastewater Treatment works discharges into the Afon Rheidol, which flows onto the beach at Aberystwyth South. Disinfection through ultra-violet treatment of the effluent, protects the bathing water quality.
  • Natural Resources Wales continues to work with and influence the private sector, in particular caravan parks, ensuring improvements are made where necessary and highlighting the importance of the bathing water quality to the town’s economy. This work has involved dye tracing and misconnection surveys. 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 highly urbanised, with shops, bars, residential properties, student accommodation and the Aberystwyth University Campus. The catchments of the rivers Rheidol and Ystwyth have large agricultural sectors, the former also has a small industrial sector.

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