FEARS that Lower Town in Fishguard was awash in raw sewage have been allayed by Natural Resources Wales (NRW).

Open water swimmers who swim from the harbour on a regular basis had noticed scum-like foam on the water and then a smell of sewage at the end of last month.

They reported both incidents to NRW and Welsh Water. Welsh Water workers came to the area on two consecutive days, the second time with digging machinery.

Welsh Water said it had carried out a full investigation including exploratory digs and a number of dye-tests on its network to see if it could locate any pipe leaks.

"All indicate that our system is operating normally," said a spokesperson. "We therefore do not believe the issue is linked to our system."

NRW took samples from the area to try to ascertain the cause of the odour and the scum.

In a report sent to the swimmers NRW said that it was not a sewage leak, as there was no sign heavy bacterial activity in the samples.

It said that the problems had been caused by a mass hatching of marine crustaceans and freshwater algae which is especially abundant in the spring.

"There were no signs of heavy bacterial activity in the sample that would be associated with sewage being present," said a spokesperson for NRW. "The assessment concludes that the foam/scum is a result of an organic process, and natural for this environment.

"The samples were found to contain a mix of freshwater and marine organisms as well as detritus. This is to be expected when considering the tight geography of the harbour and its river-valley surroundings."

"In summary, we are content that there were no signs of any sewage or effluent pollutant seen in the recent foam/scum in Lower Town."