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Pollution in Upper reaches of River Garw FOI request

Roz Stirman made this Environmental Information Regulations request to Welsh Water
You only have a right in law to access information about the environment from this authority
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Dear Welsh Water,

FOI Act 2000

Could you please provide me with the following information as required by the Act specified above?

The Garw River.

I am aware of the two excess overflow discharge points at Llangeinor and at Bettws Park. Could you please advise if there are similar discharge points higher up the Garw Valley in or near Pantygog, Pontycymmer and Blaengarw and how many times in the 3 months preceeding the date of this request they have been allowed to discharge directly into the river Garw and for what amounts of time for each discharge?

Additionally can you please advise if there is a fully functional sewage system in the Garw Valley without making use of discharge into the river Garw?

My third request is for information regarding the criteria DWR Cymru uses to decide whether to oppose planning permission requests, please provide a list of said criteria.

A copy of this FOI request is being forwarded to Huw Irranca-Davies MS, Chris Elmore MP and also to Julie James MS, Minister for Climate change, as well as George Monbiot.

Yours faithfully,

Roz Stirman
1 Stable Lane,
PANTYGOG
CF32 8DQ

Environmental Information Requests, Welsh Water

 

Date: 19 June 2023

Our Reference: EIR/1525/2023

 

 

     

Dear Roz Stirman

 

Request for information

 

We refer to your request for information which was received on 18 June
2023.

 

We are not a public authority for the purposes of the Freedom of
Information Act 2000. However, we are considering your request under our
obligation as a public authority for the purposes of the Environmental
Information Regulations 2004 (“the Regulations”).

 

In accordance with the Regulations, we will respond to your request within
20 working days of the date of receipt.

 

In the meantime, if you have any queries, please contact us on email
[1][email address]

 

We have assigned reference to your request. Please kindly note this in all
correspondence with us regarding this matter.

 

Yours sincerely

 

Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water

 

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Environmental Information Requests, Welsh Water

1 Attachment

Date: 13 July 2023

Our Reference: EIR/1525/2023

 

Dear Roz Stirman

 

Request for information

 

We write further to your request for information dated 18 June 2023, which
we have been considering under the Environmental Information Regulations
2004.

 

Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water does hold the information you have requested. We
have attached our Event Duration Monitoring (EDM) data as per your
request. Please see Column L for comments on data quality.

 

For context, the data provided shows the discharges from our storm
overflows which are measured using event duration monitors (EDM). EDM
records the number and duration of storm discharge which is a regulatory
requirement to monitor the frequency and duration of intermittent sewage
discharges and does not record the volume. Spills are reported using the
12/24 block counting methodology. EDM data records every 15 minutes. A
“spill” is triggered when at the first 15-minute reading detects a
discharge. Further information on how we monitor discharges into
waterbodies can be found on our website using the following link:

 

[1]https://corporate.dwrcymru.com/en/commun...

 

With regards to the sewage system in the Garw Valley, this is a single
catchment that gravitates to Penybont WwTW, after joining another trunk
sewer in Brynmenyn. The upstream network is a fully combined sewerage
system (designed to convey foul and storm flows) which is usual for the
age and type of valley.

 

Combined storm overflow CSO’s form a vital part of our sewer network and
during periods of intense rainfall they operate to prevent homes and
business being flooded. However, we know there is work to do to reduce the
frequency of overflow operation and we are investing significantly to
improve storm overflows with £140m being invested between 2020-2025 with a
further £420m planned from 2025 to 2030. It is also important to note that
CSO’s are highly regulated by Natural Resource Wales (NRW) and the
Environmental Agency (EA). Here is a list of the current CSOs with the
catchment area.

 

• Bettws Road CSO – 52397
• Station Row CSO – 71446
• Yr Hafon Pontycymmer CSO – 71445
• Pontycymmer CSO – 52401
• Oxford Street 193 CSO – 70689
• High St Pontycymmer CSO – 70716
• Oxford Street CSO – 32466
• Meadow Street CSO –73495
• Oxford Street CSO – 71442
• Pontycymmer CSO – 52399

 

For further information that maybe helpful, we have included the following
link to our Manifesto for Rivers in Wales. This shows how we are playing
our part to help improve river water quality in Wales. We also have
additional information on river water quality here.

 

Turning to planning permission requests, as a Statutory Consultee in the
planning process in Wales, we provide comments to Local Planning
Authorities on the ability of our assets to accommodate proposed
developments. These are provided on an impartial basis and are informed by
an assessment of capacity of our assets that would serve the development
proposed. When assessing new development, we consider the hydraulic and
biological capacity within the serving sewerage system and only support
the connection of additional flows when it can be accommodated without
causing detriment to customers and the environment.

 

Whilst we look to support development where possible, our priority is on
protecting our customers and the environment and therefore we would not
support the connection of additional flows to our sewerage system through
the planning process unless we were satisfied the system had the capacity.
In the event insufficient capacity is available, we advise that
reinforcement works would need to be controlled through any planning
consent and delivered in advance of the development connecting to the
system.

 

We should however make clear that, whilst our comments will inform the
determination of the planning application, they do not extend to the
merits of the proposed development, and the decision to grant permission
is ultimately a decision for the Local Planning Authority.

We hope that this response is clear. Should you have any questions, please
contact us on email [2][email address]

 

If you are dissatisfied with the handling of your request, you have the
right to ask for an internal review. Internal review requests should be
submitted within 40 working days of the date of receipt of this response
and should be addressed to Company Secretary, Dwr Cymru Welsh Water Linea,
Fortran Road, St. Mellons, Cardiff, Wales, CF3 0LT.

 

If you are not content with the outcome of the internal review, you have
the right to apply directly to the Information Commissioner for a
decision.

 

Yours faithfully

 

Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water

 

 

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We don't know whether the most recent response to this request contains information or not – if you are Roz Stirman please sign in and let everyone know.