River Esk: East Lothian Council says tanker will be deployed on Thursday to extract pollution in the River Esk

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East Lothian Council has said a tanker is due to be deployed to extract as “much of the material as possible” from the River Esk following a pollution incident last Friday.

The incident in Musselburgh has drawn concern and frustration from residents who were outraged by what appeared to be oil running through the depths of the river.

Five days on from the initial incident, the council has confirmed that in a bid to control the problem a tanker will be deployed on Thursday.

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Other steps taken up until now include a specialist contractor renewing booms in the water which are designed to contain contamination and protect the natural environment.

A council spokesperson said: “We are very grateful to local people for their support and understanding as the council and SEPA have continued to respond to this concerning and challenging pollution incident.

"It is important that the appropriate remedial action being taken is carried out safely. A tanker is due to be deployed tomorrow to extract as much of this material as possible from the watercourse.”

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Local residents are extremely concerned about the wildlife and wider problems the pollution could cause, with one woman – Shona McIntosh – previously saying how frustrated they were at how long it took for action to be taken.

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Pictures of the pollution in the River Esk. (Picture credit: Shona McIntosh)Pictures of the pollution in the River Esk. (Picture credit: Shona McIntosh)
Pictures of the pollution in the River Esk. (Picture credit: Shona McIntosh)

She said: "Even after finding the source of the pollutant - which took two days - the policy seemed to be to let all the fuel already spilled flow through the river system into the Firth.

"People are asking why more effort wasn’t made to absorb or pump out the fuel in the burn before it reached the Esk, which might have reduced the terrible impact on our birds, mammals and fish."

The council said that wildlife on the river was being closely monitored and any distressed birds were being taken into care by the Scottish SPCA.

According to the council SEPA is unable to comment further on the matter as it is a live investigation.

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Anyone with information should contact its 24 hour pollution hotline on 0800 80 7060 or alternatively Crimestoppers can be contacted anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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