GETTING to the bottom of the cause of the infestation of flies in Llanelli is proving very difficult.

A number of theories have been postulated online and via the media.

  1. There may have been an underground tank or pipes, which had been broken into thus releasing the flies. This was disputed by the council and Dwr Cymru who said that no major works were being carried out on the sewers in the area.
  2. Larvae may have been brought in to the area via cans for recycling at a nearby industrial premises. This was discounted by the council who said that their environmental officers had visited the site and were satisfied that this was not the source.
  3. Raw sewage spills or stored sewage. Some claimed that the cause may have been the backup of sewage in tanks or possible sewage spills into the estuary. Dwr Cymru disputed this and said that council environmental officers had also visited their sites and were satisfied that this was not the source.

The problem is that the source was reportedly active almost three weeks ago and by now, whoever and from wherever that was would now have had the opportunity to get rid of any problems. The flies meanwhile having left the source and settled in people’s homes are set to remain around for a while, especially if the warm weather continues.

Llanelli Online was sent a letter, which claimed that a meeting was held more than three weeks ago where the potential to let out large amounts of sewage from the Northumberland station in Seaside was discussed. The insider who did not wish to be named said that they were not sure whether or not that decision was acted upon.

We asked Dwr Cymru to respond to those allegations.

A spokesperson for Welsh Water said: “We are aware of the concerns surrounding flies in the Llanelli area, and have been working with Carmarthenshire Council’s Environmental Health team.

“The authority’s Environmental Health team has visited our RainScape site in Llanelli, including Northumberland pumping station, and given the current information received is satisfied that the increase in flies is not related to our work in the area.

“We are not aware of any meeting taking place at Delta Lakes in the past few weeks and can confirm that the asset is operating normally. There was a power failure last Thursday evening which led to a short duration release of storm water. This was immediately reported to Natural Resources Wales and was also fully within the limits of our permit set by them.

“Information on the performance of our combined sewer overflows is available to view on our website.”

We have since sent film of what appeared to be sewage being pumped from the Northumberland station on  June 2nd and June 3rd.

There is a public meeting this evening at the Seaside Sports and Social Club.

At present Dwr Cymru are investing heavily in a Rainscape project, which aims to take surface water out of the sewage system reducing the capacity going into the treatment works. Coupled with that more homes are planned along Llanelli’s coastline, which could potentially increase the capacity on the sewer system once more. The European Courts of Justice found the UK guilty of breaching the Clean Water Act relating to the Burry Inlet, which is considered a special area of conservation. You can read the judgement here: Burry Inlet judgement (1)

A target date of 2020 has been given for the organisations concerned including Dwr Cymru, Natural Resources Wales and Carmarthenshire County Council to ‘clean up their act’ with regard to the Burry Inlet.

Nia Griffith MP has welcomed the investment in Llanelli by Dwr Cymru but has said that it is a serious issue and that planners need to consider asking developers to contribute to improving the system before they get the go ahead to build. Speaking back in 2015 she said: “We need the county council to be strict with developers and make them take out the surface water. We have a massive backlog to get to a decent standard.”

Sewage in Llanelli from Llanelli Online on Vimeo.

Carmarthenshire County Council has issued a statement regarding the infestation today. The statement read:
Additional resources have been put in place by Carmarthenshire County Council to try and solve the fly situation affecting parts of Llanelli.

Staff are on hand to help those vulnerable people, in particular the elderly and disabled should their situation require additional support.

Investigations are continuing into finding the source of the problem, with the local authority still working with external partners such as Public Health Wales, Welsh Water and neighbouring authorities.

A sample tested by an external pest control company has identified them as a common house fly.

Executive board member for public protection, Cllr Philip Hughes, said: “I’ve been down to the areas affected in Llanelli and spoken to a number of residents last week and over the weekend as well as being in continual dialogue with the local members. I have authorised additional resources to try and find the source and also to help any vulnerable residents and local businesses to carry on with their daily routine. I would like to thank all those who have contacted us to offer information. Officers have been to all the sites which have been identified by people as the possible cause of the problem and nothing has been found to date to identify the source.”

Residents are again reminded of basic hygiene advice, which is to keep food in containers and in the refrigerator, to clean work surfaces, keep windows closed when possible and to treat areas with household pesticides.

If you have specific information that might help the council and other agencies with their enquiries into the source, please send details to publicprotection@carmarthenshire.gov.uk or if you know of a vulnerable relative or neighbour who may need advice or support please call 01267 234567.

 

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