NATURE has interrupted Dwr Cymru’s plans for removing rainwater from the main sewer system in and around Llanelli.
In a notice posted in a local paper contractors Morgan Sindall have applied for a license to extract water from a site near to Llanelli Railway Station.
This is as a result of contractors ‘hitting’ what is know as an ‘aquifer’.
Aquifers are hidden under the ground and we depend on them every day for a clean water supply.
An ‘aquifer’ is made up of a collection of wet, underground rocks that allow water to pass through them slowly. Aquifers are important because they are the main way people get clean, useable water.
Underground water fills small holes and cracks within the rocks, sand, and stones that make up the aquifer. These small openings provide spaces for the water to slowly move through, much like a sponge allows water to pass through it.
The main purpose of an aquifer is to supply clean drinking water. This is done by drilling into the aquifer and installing a well. A well is a hole in the ground from which water can be drawn. Aquifers not only supply water, but they also act as a filter to clean water.
Morgan Sindall has applied for a water extraction license. This would be carried out through a series of wells and pumps, which would extract a large amount of water from the flow.
The question environmentalists are asking is what impact will the extraction have on the environment or any water supplies or flows, which are dependent on the ‘aquifer’.
Some local environmentalists claim that the ‘aquifer’ may be providing very important elements for the ecosystem in and around the Machynys Peninsular area.
They claim that it could be acting as the only clean water source for birds and cattle as well as providing an important flushing system for the estuary where flora and fauna may be heavily reliant upon the clean water.
Robin Burn is a member of the Flood Forum and he has expressed his concerns regarding the environmental impact of hitting an ‘aquifer’.
Mr Burn said that it was a case of nature fighting back and that the discovery would not only delay Dwr Cymru’s plans but add a significant cost.
He said that unless they could find a way around the problem the work on the Rainscape scheme could be seriously affected. Mr Burn said that he could not rule out the possibility that there may also be properties/farms along the route, of the aquifer, which operate on a well system for their water supply.
Speaking to Llanelli Online today, Thursday (Feb 28) Mr Burn said: “The discovery of a water bearing geological strata, during engineering work to install a new pipeline, as part of the WWDC Rainscape project, is an unfortunate event for the construction team.
“The remedial action of water abstraction from the aquifer, given the location, in a heavily built up urban area, has to be carefully considered, to eliminate, minimise, or reduce any subsequent adverse consequences in the immediate and local areas.
“A satisfactory outcome will take additional months to achieve the completion of the scheme”.
A Welsh Water spokesperson said: “As part of our RainScape project in Llanelli, we are creating an underground tunnel to carry surface water away from the town centre, and towards Delta Lakes, reducing the risk of sewer flooding in the local area.
“We are working closely with Natural Resources Wales, and we have applied for a licence for the abstraction of groundwater near the railway station in Llanelli to ensure we can continue to carry out our work safely.
“We will ensure that any work carried out will not have a detrimental impact on the environment and local habitat.”