NRW intent on future improvement at Marine Lake, Rhyl

NRW will double down on its efforts to ensure Wales’ bathing waters are clean for people and wildlife following confirmation that Marine Lake in Rhyl has been classified as ‘poor’ in the latest Bathing Water Regulations 2022.

Marine Lake, an artificial lake used mainly for water sports, is the only bathing water across Wales to fail the sufficient standard in 2022. Marine Lake has been a designated bathing water since 2016, and this is the first year it has been classified as ‘Poor’.

The Bathing Waters are assessed yearly and based over a four-year period to help provide a better assessment of water quality. There are four classifications: excellent, good, sufficient and poor. When the samples NRW officers take fail to meet a certain threshold, the bathing water is said to have failed the criteria outlined in the Bathing Waters Regulations and is then classified as ‘Poor’.

‘Poor’ results happen because of increased bacteria in sample results. There are currently three high results in the dataset for Marine Lake.

One of these results coincided with a period of the lake being emptied for operational reasons and refilled over a short period of time. This large refill would have included significant amount of estuary freshwater and higher levels of bacteria.

The two remaining samples coincided with heavy rainfall resulting in a discharge from Westbourne Avenue CSO on an incoming tide and an abstraction into Marine Lake.

Lyndsey Rawlinson, NRW Head of Operations for North East Wales, said:

“Making sure that Wales’ bathing waters are safe and clean for people and wildlife is a huge part of our job.
“For the last four years we have achieved 100% compliance with the strict standards set out in the Bathing Water Regulations and this result for Marine Lake is hugely disappointing.  
“In this case, we are working closely with Denbighshire County Council and Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water to address the issues in Marine Lake. There will be restrictions on abstractions into the lake following a discharge from the pumping station, and confirmation has been received that the lake will not be drained and refilled during the bathing season unless there are exceptional circumstances.
“Further work is already underway in the Clwyd catchment as a wider project to reduce bacteria levels at all bathing waters in Denbighshire.”

NRW is a key member of the Wales Better River Quality Taskforce – a national programme to tackle storm overflows. The taskforce brings together Welsh Government, NRW, Ofwat, Dŵr Cymru and Hafren Dyfrdwy, with independent advice from Afonydd Cymru and the Consumer Council for Water. Collaboratively, the Taskforce has published a series of action plans to gather greater evidence on the impact of storm overflows on our rivers and seas to reduce the impacts they cause, to improve regulation and to educate the public on sewer misuse.

Lyndsey added:

“There is a lot of work to be done and NRW is taking robust action through its role on the Wales Better River Quality Taskforce to support regulators, businesses, farmers and councils to ensure cleaner and healthier waters for all in the future.”