Edinburgh Portobello beach: Urgent warning to locals to avoid popular beach after 'pollution incident'

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Scottish Water is working over the weekend to fix a broken sewer pump.

Locals have been warned not to swim or paddle at Portobello beach after a 'pollution incident' close to the city beach.

It comes after a sewer pump malfunction at the pumping station on MacDonald Road was reported by Scottish Water on Friday, July 14.

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Letters are being delivered to residents and the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) has issued a warning to locals not to go into the water at the popular swimming post, as it could be contaminated with waste.

Surfers Against Sewage National Paddle out at Portobello Beach
Photo LISA FERGUSONSurfers Against Sewage National Paddle out at Portobello Beach
Photo LISA FERGUSON
Surfers Against Sewage National Paddle out at Portobello Beach Photo LISA FERGUSON

Chiefs at Scottish Water said they are working over the weekend to repair the fault but it’s expected the disruption will continue throughout the weekend, after temporary equipment has been set up. It’s not clear when it will be safe to enter the water again.

An email sent to a local community council from Scottish Water said: “Scottish Water is currently responding to a pump failure at McDonald Road Waste Water Pumping station in Broughton. Our teams are currently working to resolve the issue and will be installing temporary pumps and generators from Friday night and over the weekend. A crane is currently being installed in the playground of Broughton Road Primary School and Heras fencing is also being installed around the site.

“The generators are planned to be switched on, on Saturday. While we will work to reduce the noise impact of this work, we expect there to be some disruption over the weekend. We are exploring all avenues to reduce this risk. Letters are being delivered to those nearest and we apologise for the inconvenience caused. We will update you on Monday once the temporary equipment has been set up.”

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A member of a local swimming group took to social media to complain to Scottish Water: “We've had to move our weekly swim this week at Portobello because of the sewage you have allowed into the sea this week, it’s a f***ing outrage frankly.” The group which swims there 3-4 times a week told the Evening News the sewage problem seems to be getting worse.

A notice on the Scottish Water website apologised for any inconvenience. It said: “We apologise for the inconvenience caused. If you have experienced any issues and require support, please contact us on 0800 0778 778 or via one of the other methods on our contact us page."

A spokesperson for Scottish Water said: ‘Scottish Water is currently responding to a fault at McDonald Road Waste Water Pumping station in Broughton.

Due to this issue, there is currently a risk of waste water being discharged during periods of rainfall at a pumping station on Marine Esplanade, Portobello, which has led SEPA to advise against bathing at Portobello Central and West

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Our teams are currently working to resolve the issue. A temporary pump is currently in operation at the location, which means we are managing to control all of the required flows through the asset at this time, reducing any impact on the environment including the bathing waters at Portobello.

Replacement equipment is anticipated to be in place and running on Monday.

We have been communicating locally, particularly with the nursery at Broughton Road Primary School alerting anyone dropping children there of access arrangements due to the presence of a crane in the playground of the school.

We apologise for any inconvenience whilst we complete these essential repairs.’

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