Scottish Water mount 24-hour guard to prevent another burst

Scottish water workmen at the site off Orchardhead Road were there had been a burst water main. Picture; Ian Georgeson

Scottish water workmen at the site off Orchardhead Road were there had been a burst water main. Picture; Ian Georgeson

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THE crucial valve at the centre of a major water burst in Liberton has been put under 24-hour manned supervision to make sure there is no repeat.

Homes were flooded, cars swept down streets and thousands left without water after the burst in the mains pipe last month.

The rupture has been blamed on a problem with the pressure-regulating valve which controls the flow of water from Glencorse, high up in the Pentlands, to city homes.

A similar burst occurred in the same area 15 months ago.

Now Scottish Water is looking at extensive measures – including building a pressure-release tank and possible replacement of the main valve – to ensure the same thing does not happen again.

The eventual work is expected to cost several million pounds.

And, in the meantime, staff have been stationed round the clock to watch over the valve in Alnwickhill and monitor its operation. A source said: “It will involve some substantial work to put some fail-safes into the system or replace the valve altogether.

“But until they put these fixes in, they are not confident the same thing might not happen again.

“So they have now put 24-hour cover at the valve so they can shut it off immediately if there is a further problem.”

Residents in Liberton Brae and Orchardhead Loan bore the brunt of the flooding when the water mains burst late on the evening of September 22.

Six homes were flooded, families had to be evacuated, walls were knocked down and at least one car ended up in the next-door garden.

Much of Edinburgh was left without water well into the next day.

Edinburgh Southern Labour MSP Daniel Johnson said the only reason there was no loss of life was that an elderly couple who lived in the worst-hit house are currently in a care home.

Mr Johnson said: “I’m pleased Scottish Water are taking this matter so seriously, as evidenced by the broad range of options they are looking at. I look forward to seeing full details of the plan.”

Scottish Water has apologised for the disruption caused to customers following the burst.

Chief operating officer Peter Farrer said: “We are carrying out a full investigation and will bring forward options to improve the reliability of the network which is being monitored at all times.”

ian.swanson@edinburghnews.com