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Council’s stinking discharge

Council wasteEAGLE-EYED member of the public contacted The Pembrokeshire Herald about a Pembrokeshire County Council gully tanker emptying waster directly into the waters of the River Cleddau at Hobbs Point, Pembroke Dock.

Shocking photographs have captured the moment when black discharge is pumped, via a gully sewer into the Haven.

Photographer Mike Hillen, who took the images, said: “I was in the area, having lunch at Hobbs Point with my wife, when I noticed a council lorry on the left hand side of the road. The lorry was parked in the same spot for twenty to thirty minutes.

“At first glance it looked as if the lorry was cleaning the drain, but then I noticed a black stinking discharge coming from a pipe into the Haven.”

“It was obvious that the driver was not cleaning the drain but emptying his lorry into the sea. I immediately reported the incident to the Environment Agency, whose immediate view was that it should not have been happening.”

Hobbs Point is a popular spot with local anglers. One of them, Paul Kelly of Pembroke, told The Herald:

“This is terrible. I can’t believe the Council is just emptying filth into the river where we all fish.”

A spokesman from Pembrokeshire County Council said: “We are making inquiries but can confirm that the vehicle pictured is a gully tanker used by the County Council for clearing roadside gullies into which surface rainwater is discharged. It does not handle sewage. Gullies normally empty into rivers or streams, but this particular gully empties directly into the sea.”

The Herald has confirmed with the Environment Agency that emptying gully water into a river potentially introduces contaminants into the marine environment. The Environment Agency notes that material recovered from gullies can include heavy metals, diesel, car waste, silt and rotting small animal carcasses.

A Natural Resources Wales spokeswoman confirmed that they are looking into the incident. NRW told The Herald:

“We’d like to thank those who reported concerns to us over this activity. In response, we’ve launched a thorough investigation to identify whether this took place legitimately or not.”

At the time of going to press, The Pembrokeshire Herald understands that an NRW investigation is taking place at Hobbs Point to establish precisely what was discharged into the Cleddau.