Huge slick of brown matter in the sea off the Welsh coast captured in aerial photograph

This huge slick of brown matter in the sea off the coast of west Wales was photographed from an aircraft flying from Ireland over the coastline of Ceredigion.

The worrying discharge into the sea around Aberystwyth was pictured at just after 6.30pm on Sunday, June 16, following heavy rain on Saturday. A pollution forecast warning had been issued for Aberystwyth South Beach over the three days from Friday to Sunday citing a risk of reduced water quality due to heavy rain.

Natural Resources Wales said it had launched an investigation after receiving a report of "discoloured water" in the sea at Borth and it thought the brown matter was likely to be sediment and not sewage.

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Huwel Manley, of Natural Resources Wales, said: “We received one report of discoloured water in the sea at Borth over the weekend. One of our officers investigated and found that some discoloured water was entering the sea at Aberystwyth Harbour, but the discolouration was passing.

"It is our understanding that there were no discharges from storm overflow discharges over the weekend associated with Dwr Cymru assets. The brown discolouration was most likely caused by heavy rainfall in the Rheidol and Ystwyth catchments which resulted in increasing water levels early Sunday morning causing sediment to be pushed out into the bay.

This is the full frame of the picture:

"We issued pollution risk warnings for Aberystwyth South Beach over the weekend due to the risk of reduced water quality from heavy rain. The pollution risk warning has now passed, and there is no reason to suspect that water quality is lower than usual.

"We are confident that the discolouration was caused by sediment flowing from rivers and not through sewage discharges. Both Borth and Aberystwyth South Beach are excellent places to enjoy the seaside and have been rated as excellent for a number of years.”

Welsh Water said it had no record of sewage discharges from it combined sewer outflows on the Rheidol or Ystwyth rivers over the weekend.