Report lifts lid on Seafield stench

Seafield Sewage Sewerage Works. Picture: Jayne Wright

Seafield Sewage Sewerage Works. Picture: Jayne Wright

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RESIDENTS plagued by the infamous Seafield stench have been buoyed by the publication of a report which recommends investment at the much criticised facility.

Scottish Water’s treatment works has been under scrutiny from city environment officers amid continuing complaints regarding sewage smells.

Residents, backed by a industry expert Professor Robert Jackson, have previously urged Scottish Water to fully cover the areas of the plant producing the smell – work which would cost an estimated £20 million.

And following the end of an independent odour monitoring programme they have now been joined in their stance by Edinburgh City Council.

During the monitoring period, which ran from June 1, 2011 and August 31 this year, enviornment officials carried out 750 assessment visits to the plant, detecting sewage odours on 89 occasions.

In one period the smell could be detected in six days out of seven.

A report to the city’s environment committee yesterday recommended that the council “makes representations to Scottish Water for appropriate investment and action to reduce further the frequency and nature of odour emissions from the treatment works”.

Lesley Hinds, the city’s transport leader, said: “We will communicate to Scottish Water that we are concerned at the number of odour events and that this number is unacceptable.

“We will also be encouraging Scottish Water to invest in the facility and we are happy to support and help them in attaining whatever funding is needed to fix Seafield.

“Edinburgh is a capital city and to have frequent sewage events such as these occur on the city’s doorstep is not acceptable. Covering the tanks would seem to be the most preferable option.”

Rob Kirkwood, from the Leith Links Residents Association, is hopeful that the long-running problem may now be rectified once and for all.

He said: “Scottish Water have been trying to do things on the cheap and hope it 
all goes away. These 
recommendations have been long-awaited, the battle lines can now be drawn. There must be no more piecemeal solutions, the tanks must simply be covered.

“The report states that the tanks being open gives rise to odour events arising from changes in wind direction and whether it has been a dry or wet spell of weather – our 
ability to breathe fresh air should not be open to such contingencies.”

A Scottish Water spokesman said: “Scottish Water and Seafield operator Veolia Water UK will await the outcome of the city council’s discussion on the monitoring of the Odour Improvement Plan. As we have done throughout this process, we will continue to work closely with the council on this matter.”