Council road sweeper caught dumping dirty water

The city council road sweeper  mistakenly deposited the sludge in Lauriston Gardens. Picture: Kenneth Ritchie
The city council road sweeper mistakenly deposited the sludge in Lauriston Gardens. Picture: Kenneth Ritchie
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A council worker has been pictured dumping dirty water, plastic bottles and street waste near a domestic drain after the suction device on his vehicle malfunctioned.

The road cleaner had parked next to the drain on Lauriston Gardens in order to release some excess water hoovered up on his rounds.

But when the nozzle became jammed he elevated the vehicle in a bid to clear the blockage – spilling its filthy cargo all over the road.

Despairingly, the road cleanser made repeated efforts to clear the mess which was caught on film by a camera-wielding resident.

Stationed at his second-floor window, Kenneth Ritchie, 38, captured the episode and said the driver’s actions had blocked the drain. The oil engineer was so shocked by what he thought was a negligent council employee, that he even filed a police report for 
environmental damage.

“I am frankly appalled by this conduct,” said Mr Ritchie. “This guy was dumping waste water down the drain at the front. All of a sudden the back tips up and dumps it all on to our street. He has opened all the hatches then got back in the truck and tried to sweep it back up without much success.

“You wouldn’t lift a drain and pour down domestic rubbish, that’s illegal.”

Mr Ritchie reported the 
incident to police believing the council worker had broken environmental laws.

It is understood the police referred the complaint to the local authority because it falls under their jurisdiction.

A city council spokesman said it was “satisfied that the member of staff took the correct action”.

All waste collected by the road sweeping fleet is deposited at the Powderhall depot before being sorted for landfill.

But Mr Ritchie said: “This is appalling, it’s a complete disgrace and shouldn’t happen on any street in Edinburgh. The driver didn’t even seem to be cleaning this street and has possibly come here just to dump it.”

Paul Beswick, chair of Tollcross Community Council, said the incident was “clearly disgusting” for residents.

A spokesperson for the city council said: “It is common practice to drain away any excess water collected during street cleaning and this is 
normally done by releasing a valve. On this occasion, the valve became choked and the back of the vehicle had to be lifted to unblock it.

“Some of the collected waste spilled out and the driver immediately cleaned it up. This was unavoidable and we are satisfied that the member of staff took the correct action.

“The drains have been checked to ensure that this has not caused a blockage and they are clear.”