Safety campaigners have expressed hope that a safer route can be found for vehicles involved in building a new £20 million sewage works extension.

Dwr Cymru’s proposed extension to Cardigan’s wastewater treatment works is predicted to reduce the amount of pollution in the Teifi, as well as helping address a long-standing planning issue.

The company is seeking permission for an extension to its existing works, on open pasture land at Netpool Road, Cardigan.

The Cardigan plant was the subject of shocking revelations last year after a report revealed that it had illegally spilled for more than 200 days each year from 2019-2022.

It was branded ‘the worst sewage works I've come across in terms of illegal discharges’ former UCL professor Peter Hammond who compiled the report.

The Cardigan plant is plagued by seawater entering the site from the tidal River Teifi, especially during spring high tides.

This results in sewage spills during most high tides, so around 200 times a year, due to the treatment works not having the capacity to deal with wastewater entering the works.

Welsh Water boss Steve Wilson said that it had undertaken numerous investigations, made improvements to the treatment work and surrounding network, and trialled new technologies to identify the best way of fixing the issues at the site but despite these efforts and significant investment, Welsh Water had not been able to resolve the issue at the works.

The proposed expansion should provide the answer, reducing spills of untreated effluent and improving water quality in the long-term.

However, neighbours have been voicing concerns about the proposed access to the expansion works.

Campaigners have voiced fears that the £20 million project will have an ‘extreme’ impact on their homes near Cardigan’s historic Netpool quarter and would send the Netpool Park into a ‘downward spiral’.

(Image: For Safety's Sake)

Netpool residents, along with Cardigan Mayor, Olwen Davies and members of the town council, have recently met representatives of Dwr Cymru/Welsh Water to voice their concerns.

“We pointed out to Dwr Cymru that their choice to use the current route along Greenfield Row and through Netpool Park for up to 30 lorry and 60 car journeys a day, just because it had been the access for the existing works, was untenable,” said Netpool resident Rose Barter, who lives next to the proposed route.

“There are 12 accident danger spots along the route, including children and young people crossing the road by the skate park.

“The building project could last for over two years and it is very worrying.'

“Not enough time and effort has been given to researching an alternative route via the Bath House Road site which would not create any danger spots at all.”

(Image: For Safety's Sake)

At the meeting Dwr Cymri senior project manager, Daniel Purchase agreed to commission a feasibility study of a temporary alternative access route.

It is hoped that the alternative route would open the doors for the Ceredigion County Council backed strategy to create a green corridor from upriver of Cardigan Bridge through Netpool Park meeting up with the coast path. The project would involve creating a wildflower meadow and orchard as part of a revival of the much loved, but neglected, park.

“This exciting project would benefit local wildlife as well as hundreds of people,” said Mrs Barter. “It will be impossible if the planned access route goes ahead.”

Mr Purchase has agreed to meet again with Cardigan Town Council and residents once the feasibility study has been completed.

A Welsh Water spokesperson said: “We are aware of some local concerns regarding the proposed access route to Cardigan Wastewater Treatment Works as part of our essential £20 million investment at the site to help improve river water quality.

“We are grateful to councillors, residents and businesses for meeting with us in June. After listening to their feedback, we are carrying out an additional feasibility study into an alternative route to the site.

“We will hold a follow-up meeting once we have completed this feasibility study and will continue to work with the Cardigan community throughout this project.”