Worrying levels of contamination in Welsh rivers An ITV News investigation has revealed the worrying scale of contamination and pollution in our rivers from farm waste.

The fines are still small, but the NRW (Natural Resources Wales) has the power to be much more penal.. Could a new project help?

Worrying levels of contamination in Welsh rivers

An ITV News investigation has revealed the worrying scale of contamination and pollution in our rivers from farm waste.

The probe with the Bureau of Investigative Journalism shows last year there were 328 incidents in Wales, which included toxic slurry entering waterways.

Incidents in the last year in Wales include:

  • Hundreds of gallons of milk entering waterway
  • Human waste in water systems
  • Large tyre fires
  • Slurry entering rivers and killing fish
  • 450,000 litres of slurry poured into a tributary of the River Honddu
incidents in Wales of slurry entering waterways

The Welsh Government says tackling agricultural pollution is crucial to improving water quality.

Tackling agricultural pollution is crucial if we are to improve water quality in Wales.

Pollution incidents from farms, of which we have had a spate recently, are having a significant and detrimental impact.

This is an issue where we, as a government, have a role to play but farmers must also recognise the important responsibility they have in addressing this problem.

We are determined to work with them and other respective parties to find a solution.

Where there is evidence of any breach of regulations we expect Natural Resources Wales to take appropriate action


£5000 bill for a farmer after slurry release in Carmarthenshire..

New project will innovatively reduce farm waste and help safeguard the environment

An innovative project is underway to address the agricultural industry’s impact on the environment by developing a dewatering and purification system to manage slurry.
Driving the project are Coleg Sir Gâr’s Gelli Aur agricultural campus and Power & Water, a Swansea based company specialising in electrochemical-based water treatments.
This Project has received funding through the Welsh Government’s Rural Communities Rural Development Programme 2014-2020, which is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for rural Development and the Welsh Government.  The project will apply innovative and proven concept technology to reduce air and water pollution to reduce the overall volume of slurry by up to 80%.  A de-watering and purification system is used to filter slurry, transforming the water to a suitable quality for recycling or discharging to a clean watercourse. The system will also utilise nutrients from the slurry to produce good quality fertiliser.
John Owen, farm manager at Coleg Sir Gâr, said: “With the intensification of the dairy industry, slurry management is becoming an increasing issue for farmers and the environment.
“We aim to reduce significantly the risk of air and water pollution at the same time as maximising the recycling nutrient value. This development process will considerably reduce storage of slurry on farms as well as handling costs.
“Efficiently extracting nutrients from manures could save on the cost of commercial fertilisers and reduce serious environmental impact.  However poor manure management can cause pollutants, including nutrients, to enter the water cycle through run-off or drainage.”
The project also aims to design, develop and validate economically viable systems that will be made available commercially and used on farms.
Natural Resources Wales (NRW) states that the number of pollution incidents caused by dairy and beef farms across Wales has fluctuated between 85 and 120 for each of the last six years.   Wet winters and a significant downturn in the dairy market have added to the pressure on the environment and farmers; reducing their capacity to invest in slurry and silage store management and over 60% of the incidents involving pollution during the last three years took place within the milk field of Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire.