Sea swimmers at risk of sewage after burst pipe

Tenby South Beach
Tenby South Beach is among the beaches where people are warned of potential water pollution [Getty Images]

Sea swimmers at one of Wales' most popular seaside towns are being warned they may be bathing in contaminated water.

An investigation has been launched into a pollution incident in Tenby, Pembrokeshire, Natural Resources Wales (NRW) said.

A burst rising main - a pressurised pipe which lifts sewage into the public sewer - resulted in sewage entering the river Ritec, which flows to the sea at Tenby South Beach, NRW said.

It said there was a potential pollution risk at Tenby South Beach, Castle Beach, Tenby North Beach and nearby Penally Beach.

Visiting from Stockport, Andrea and Andrew Mcconnell said: "We've been watching all the children go down [to the water)] but the guards have been stopping them."

"We just assumed there was a rip tide - it's quite alarming really."

Olivia and Laurence Wall from Nottingham added: "The worrying thing is [our daughter] wanted to go into the sea, but it was only when the guy said we couldn't that we knew anything about it.

"We could've easily missed it."

Andrea and Andrew Mcconnell sat on the beach
Tourists Andrea and Andrew Mcconnell called the situation "alarming" [BBC]

"Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water has informed us of a burst rising main near Tenby which has resulted in sewage entering the River Ritec," NRW's Andrea Winterton said.

She said the main had been isolated, and that there should be no further pollution into the river from the burst pipe.

"Due to the potential for the pollution to impact the downstream bathing waters, we’ve declared an abnormal situation and informed Pembrokeshire County Council who will place signs at the beaches to warn people of the potential pollution risk," she added.

The council said it would place the signs on the beaches on Tuesday morning.

Sign on a beach that says suspected pollution
Welsh Water says there is no impact on wastewater services in the Tenby area [BBC]

A Welsh Water spokesperson said crews were continuing to repair a damaged sewer pipe on land by Clickett Lane, Tenby, which was discovered on Monday.

“While this is taking longer than we anticipated the pipe was quickly isolated so there has been no further pollution," they said, adding that it was managing flows in the area and there was no impact on wastewater services in the Tenby area.