DŵrCymru Welsh Water has said it will not be able to comply with urgent calls for the ‘immediate’ replacement of the sewer pipe which caused last week’s pollution incident in Tenby.

The company has confirmed that it could be at least six years before the pipe – apparently identified as a ‘high-risk pollution site’ – is renewed.

A burst in the town’s rising main – the principal pipe which carries raw sewage to the treatment works – led to a ‘do not swim’ alert on four Tenby beaches.

This was due to sewage entering the River Ritec, which flows to the sea at Tenby South Beach.

'Abnormal situation'

An ‘abnormal situation’ was declared by Natural Resources Wales.

The pipe was immediately isolated and subsequently repaired by Welsh Water, and the pollution risk warning was lifted before last weekend.

This was the second time in just over a year that this rising main had burst.

Town councillors had been told it had been identified as ‘a high-risk pollution site’, and feared future bursts could have ‘catastrophic effects’ on the environment and the tourism industry.

Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water responds

A spokesman for Dŵr Cymru 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.

"Ofwat’s initial response to our investment plans is due on Thursday (July 11) and is the first step to assessing our investment plans for 2025-2030 against the funding allowed."

Tenby town councillor Duncan Whitehurst, who has chaired a Clean Seas Working Group with Dŵr Cymru, Natural Resources Wales and Pembrokeshire County Council for the last three years, said: “As one of Wales’ premier tourist destinations, we must take decisive action before the rising main bursts again.


 “Given the gravity of the pollution incident, Tenby Town Council has urgently requested Dŵr Cymru to prioritise the replacement of the rising main.

“We believe that works should commence immediately and a target completion date should be set.”

He added that the group's last meeting was told that the 'end-of-life' fibreglass rising main had been identified as a 'high-risk pollution site' by Dŵr Cymru and added to the programme of works, but the replacement was not due to be completed until 2030.


Tenby North county councillor, Michael Williams, said it was ‘scandalous’ that the water company was not delivering necessary improvements.

"A few days after we see the raising of the Blue Flag in Tenby we witness red flags flying on our beaches and notices warning people not to enter the water. Surely we should expect better than this."