Elevated levels of E. coli recorded at Tenby’s South Beach has led to town councillors in Tenby further questioning why Welsh Water didn’t act sooner to fix a burst pipe that saw a warning issued to beach-goers not to enter the sea at the seaside town.

The pollution warning at Tenby’s South, Castle, North and Penally Beaches has since been removed, with Natural Resources Wales (NRW) confirming that results from water samples taken on July 3, two days after the members of the public were alerted to the incident, indicating that there was now only a slight impact downstream, after a burst rising main located at the seaside town’s pumping station at The Clicketts resulted in sewage entering the River Ritec.

Chair of the Tenby Clean Seas Working Group and member of Tenby Town Council, Cllr Duncan Whitehurst expressed his frustration to his fellow councillors at Welsh Water’s handling of the matter, a day after the incident was revealed.

“There were elevated levels of E. coli recorded on June 5 on South Beach,” commented Cllr. Whitehurst at the Town Council meeting. “This could have been when the problem started.

“This is the second time this had occurred, as in June last year, the pipe cracked.”

What frustrated him was that Welsh Water had identified the rising main as a problem last year and had said that a replacement was necessary, however thay have ‘sat on it’ he said.

Pembrokeshire County council installed signage to alert members of the public of the possible pollution impact at Tenby South Beach, Castle Beach, Tenby North Beach and Penally Beach.
Pembrokeshire County council installed signage to alert members of the public of possible pollution at Tenby's South, Castle, North beaches and Penally beach. (Observer pic)

“I do not think NRW are holding Dŵr Cymru to account. They are in breach of pollution permits and they should be acting,” he continued.

“We do not seem important to them. We are a major holiday destination, and not a priority? We need some proper investment in our system.”

Cllr Laurence Blackhall remarked: “This delayed action now creates a greater concern.

“We want to know how they intend to remedy this and not be so complacent. The North Beach now has its Blue Flag back and something like this creates a threat that it could be taken away.”

A spokesperson for Welsh Water said: “Replacing this section of sewer requires significant investment, similar to when we replaced a rising main in Tenby from the lifeboat station up to Bridge Street in 2018.

"Our investment plans run in five-year cycles and this sewer has been included in our next proposed business plans for 2025-2030, which was submitted to Ofwat in 2023.”