TORBAY Council should take responsibility for informing residents of hazards such as sewage overflowing into the sea, councillors have urged.
Six months after the sewage pipe was breached at Livermead and sewage outflows were diverted to Hope's Nose, members said they believed this should have been mentioned in a council press release issued after the damage took place.
Council officers told members of the overview and scrutiny committee it had been agreed with South West Water the company would inform residents about problems on beaches because they were the experts on the subject.
It was announced on the company's website.
Lib Dem leader Steve Darling questioned its omission from the council's press release, but officers said normal procedure had been followed and it was not considered there was a major risk from the pollution.
Cllr Darling said: "While there were limited effects at Hope's Nose, the burst at Livermead meant people were swimming at Torre Abbey when it was potentially very dangerous.
"I know there was signage, but failure to put the pollution in the press release was incredible.
"As an authority we have a responsibility towards public risk and I am fearful we were neglectful of that duty."
Members agreed in future the council should inform residents of such risks.
Members also heard SWW had advised contractors working on repairs to the seawall, which had been breached by easterly gales, to pull out amid fears someone could be injured if not killed by the force of the sewage pipe blowing.
Councillors questioned whether South West Water could have been involved in discussions with contractors earlier in the tender process.
Officers said in normal circumstances that would not happen, but in certain cases it could be advantageous especially where major infrastructure like pipes were involved.
Highways chief Patrick Carney said in this case it had been expected the contractors would be able to do the repairs from the sea, but for the bad weather and damage they would not have been expected to do work which could have affected the sewage pipe.
He added: "In future if we were to do more work in the Livermead area where you have such a special situation, with a main pipe right behind the wall, we would ask the contractor to show the proposed work had been approved by SWW."
He said this could apply in other areas such as Meadfoot seawall.