Lack of sewerage crippling resorts; RACHAEL MISSTEAR West Wales Editor firstname.lastname@example.org CARAVAN PARKS CLASSED AS JUST A SINGLE ADDRESS.
Byline: RACHAEL MISSTEAR
A "DIRE" lack of public sewerage is crippling some West Wales holiday resorts, it has been claimed.
People living in tourist hotspots, including parts of the popular seaside village of Amroth and the small hamlet of Llanteg, are not connected to the main system and have to cover costs of sewage disposal themselves.
For businesses such as holiday parks, the cost of draining a site has been described as "phenomenal" and is forcing some to turn away trade out of season and during wet weather.
The Assembly Government is now being called on to step in after Welsh Water said it is under no obligation to connect communities or properties which are not serviced by a mains sewerage system.
Nigel Clark who owns the Pendeilo Leisure Park, near Amroth, said the Assembly Government had got its priorities wrong after it announced a drive to improve internet broadband access in West Wales. "If money can be found for broadband 'not spots' why cannot it be found for mains sewage disposal 'not spots'?" he said.
"As a business and personal user of the internet, I am pleased that the Government is acting to speed up improvement of internet broadband facilities in rural Wales - but surely this has an environmental impact and is equally, if not more, important."
The ever-increasing populations in villages has meant more houses being built and no sewage disposal system in place, he said.
"In addition the tourist trade, which brings much-needed jobs and income to rural areas, puts even greater strain on individual, private, sewage disposal systems," he added.
He said the problem is particularly bad in wet weather, when the ground cannot cope with the effluent from the septic tank soak-aways.
"The cost of having effluent removed from the ground costs around pounds 120-150 per 2,000 gallons.
For my caravan park this would mean around seven or eight tanker loads a week during the tourist season, an unsustainable drain on income, especially after three wet summers and a recession. "It means holiday accommodation providers have to stop operating during the autumnwinter period because incomes are low and sewage disposal costs too high."
He said his application to Welsh Water to extend the nearest sewerage system has led to a "catalogue" of excuses for doing nothing.
On top of that he said that Welsh Water's assessment only lists his property as one amenity and does not acknowledge the use of facilities by hundreds of holiday makers.
Pembrokeshire Councillor Tony Brinsden said as many as 50 houses are affected by the lack of public sewerage and tourism firms are suffering.
"The rules for the introduction of mains sewage systems need a thorough overhaul and money allocated for this," he said. "For caravan parks it is a double whammy as they are assessed as one amenity, which is ridiculous."
A spokeswoman for Welsh Water said there are isolated settlements throughout Wales that do not have access to mains sewerage systems due to their remote location.
"Where this is the case local householders are responsible for disposing of sewerage through the use of cesspools or septic tanks and the services of private contractors.
"Householders and communities have the right to requisition sewers from Welsh Water but are required to fund this work themselves.
"Static caravans are not classified as 'buildings' by law. However, buildings such as offices or toilet blocks which are located on a caravan site may constitute 'buildings' and the owners of these buildings may requisition a sewer connection from Welsh Water."
An Assembly Government spokesman said that under certain circumstances Welsh Water could be forced to connect amenities.
"When it is likely that, without a connection, there would be adverse effects on the environment or amenity, the Water Industry Act 1991 does compel sewerage companies to provide a public sewer when certain conditions are met."
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|Publication:||Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)|
|Date:||Jun 10, 2010|
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