Swansea History Web. Looking at Swansea's Main Drainage Sewerage Scheme from the 1930s.

Swansea's Main Drainage Scheme

Early bathing in Swansea Bay ] The Slip emerges ] Swansea Slip : the place to be... ] Swansea Slip: The place to be (continued) ] Swansea Slip:decline and fall ] Swansea Slip: Cleaning up the act ] Swansea Bay : The cleanup starts here ] Building a bridge at Swansea Slip ] The Swansea Slip Bridge ] Bert and Dick at the Beach ] Early Swansea sewerage schemes ] [ Swansea's Main Drainage Scheme ] Swansea's Main Drainage Scheme (Continued) ] A Map of Swansea's Main Drainage Scheme ] Swansea's sewerage system under Mumbles Head ] The Mumbles Head sewer outfall ] Slip Statistics ]

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By 1907 the population of Swansea was increasing rapidly past 100,000. The majority of these people were contributing to the pollution of the River Tawe either at work or at home. The filth of the river was also beginning to be apparent on the sands of Swansea Bay, which by this time was hugely popular as a focus for holidays for the masses of industrial workers of the South Wales valleys. In the hot summer weather (and Swansea had a run of hot summers in the early 1900s), the river turned into a foul stagnant liability with only sporadic relief from the flushing effect of the tide.

Swansea History Web. Dick German 'Fever Bay' 1907.

Both borough and various consulting engineers agreed that the only suitable scheme was for an outfall that took sewage a long way away from the river mouth. Ideally this would entail releasing effluent into the bay at a point where the general currents of the Bristol Channel would apparently disperse it away from the inner reaches of the bay. This was a popular view across the country. Many other municipal authorities viewed carefully placed sea outfalls as a cost effective solution to sewage pollution. The phrase 'out of sight, out of mind' characterises early sanitation perfectly. The Swansea scheme was no different in this respect than others at towns such as Blackpool, New Brighton and Whitby.

Right: A Dick German cartoon from a 1907 edition of The South Wales Daily Post. The original caption:

'It is reported that dissatisfaction exists over the site selected for the new pilotage house, inasmuch as a powerful aroma usually pervades the atmosphere at the spot.

The window was open, the curtain was drawn, a microbe flew in and a pilot had gone'




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