Foul odours from Seafield having an impact on community wellbeing as Scottish Water issue yet another apology

This week we have received eighty reports of foul odour emissions from Seafield in yet another spike in complaints.

Despite a previous stream of apology’s from Scottish Water staff, local residents are regularly affected by foul odour emissions from the site drifting amongst local homes.

Local residents have been telling us about the impact the foul odour emissions has been having on them & how they have been made to feel;

It affects everything. You do not want to leave your house because it is that revolting. This will impact everyone’s mental health in this weather and unable to go outside with lock down.


Felt sick. Kids commented on how bad it was.


I’m currently shielding due to severe asthma and can’t go out to exercise as I can’t wear a face mask.  So my garden is the only place I can sit. This was the hottest day of the year so far. I wanted to sit out in the evening and eat my dinner.  I couldn’t sit outside, never mind eat.  I had to close windows etc due to this disgusting stench.  I tried to eat my salad inside the house but was so nauseated I couldn’t eat.  This smell was still there the next morning.  It was so warm I had to open my bedroom windows and the odour was still strong.  I have lived in Leith for years and experienced this noctious smell many times but this episode really upset me. having to stay indoors and being unable to eat my evening meal.


Responding to the ongoing flow of foul odour complaints a Scottish Water spokesman today said;

As part of planned maintenance, Seafield WWTW operators Veolia began cleaning primary Settlement Tank 8 (PST8), on Monday 22/06/2020. This tank was already out of service. This is standard procedure during the summer months to minimise the risk of odour, as PST8 is the closest tank to the boundary with the community. Cleaning had been planned for this week due to the favourable weather conditions forecast and to avoid the tank contents turning more odorous.Scottish Water logo


However, Veolia is aware that the wind direction became variable on Wednesday 24/06/2020, which caused odour in the community and would like to apologise for the annoyance and inconvenience caused.


As the wind today remains onshore, a decision has been taken to pause this tank clean until weather conditions are more favourable, with work likely to commence on Monday 29/08/2020, as the forecast currently suggests offshore winds all week. In order to mitigate the odour risk, PST8 is currently being filled with treated effluent to cover the remaining contents in the tank.


Scottish Water will work with Veolia to review the task planning processes in order to prevent a recurrence with this type of maintenance work.

The latest apology from Scottish Water appears to be a fairly standard response of apologising but both fails to properly acknowledge the impact upon our community and gives no undertaking to stop any further foul odour emissions.

Responding to the Scottish Water apology Leith Links Community Council Chairman Jim Scanlon today said;

The Community Council are disappointed with this latest apology. Yet again the operators Veolia carry out work at the plant knowing that a change in wind direction will cause immense suffering to the local community.


We suspect they only ceased work when Scottish Water started to receive the public’s complaints. We have asked Ben MacPherson MSP to call a stakeholders meeting ASAP.

In the meantime please keep your complaints coming.

While also campaigning for long term solutions, it is vitally important that we keep reporting odour nuisance whenever it occurs, to demonstrate the scale of the problem and the impact on the local community.

Leith Links Community Council continues to encourage any member of our community who is negatively impacted by the release of foul odour emissions from the Seafield site to report such incidents via our website.

Our online reporting tool not only notifies Scottish Water, but simultaneously informs the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency, Veolia UK, Leith Links Community Council, City of Edinburgh Council (officers and Councillors Booth, Munro & McVey), the Scottish Governments Cabinet Secretary for the Environment and local MSP Ben MacPherson.