Did you see the shocking recent report by The Ferret about Scottish beaches polluted by sewage? Portobello was one of them.
LLCC was concerned about the statistics as there have been issues in the past with beach pollution at Portobello connected to untreated sewage being released into the Forth from the Seafield plant. We felt it could be significant that the pollution was noticeably worse on Portobello West beach (ie. nearer to Seafield) than on the central beach. You can read our letter here, along with an extract from the original report.
Scottish Water have said that there is no link to Seafield Waste Water Treatment Plant. The official line is that sewage overflow is caused by heavy rain overwhelming the drainage system (they say overflow should be drained a mile out in the Forth, from a drainage pipe / tunnel, not near any beach). SEPA states that heavy rain washes animal faeces off the land into rivers / sea. LLCC has asked for further investigation.
MP for Edinburgh East Tommy Sheppard wrote to the Minister for the Environment at Holyrood about it, and you can read his letter here. Tommy Sheppard also said: “I’ve sent the attached letter to Mairi McAllan, the new Minister for Environment, Biodiversity and Land Reform which I trust relates your concerns appropriately. My office has also sent a copy to SEPA for their information. I’ll of course update you on the response I receive”.
Information received from Scottish Water:
“We wanted to make you aware that Veolia plans to clean the storm tanks at Seafield between Monday 21st September and Wednesday 23 September, next week. This is the first available opportunity to complete this maintenance task following the recent heavy rainfall in the catchment area, and whilst weather conditions are forecast to be favourable.
In addition, as part of planned maintenance activities at the site, Primary Settlement Tank 1 (PST1) is to be drained and cleaned. This activity has been scheduled to commence today with work expected to take approximately one week.
Conditions are currently forecast to be favourable and every effort will be made to minimise the odour risk when carrying out these activities.
Both SEPA and the City of Edinburgh Council have been informed.
We will issue a further update once Veolia has completed the work.
Note: A link to this communication will be posted on social media and also on our website – https://www.scottishwater.co.uk/seafield
As always if you smell any sewage it’s important that you complete our report form.
I can assure you that all public bodies and elected councillors sit up and pay attention to every complaint made. Your MSP Ben MacPherson has also worked hard on your behalf to secure a commitment by the Scottish Government to invest no regrets funding to reduce odour emissions in 2020/21 and a new state of the art sewage works will be built on the same site in 2030 hopefully to end the Seafield Stench.
Chair, Leith Links Community Council