Households given postcards in latest move against stench

Residents are to report the time and date of sewage smells
Residents are to report the time and date of sewage smells
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THOUSANDS of postcards have been unveiled as the latest weapon against the notorious Seafield Stench.

The city council is issuing 3800 households in the worst hit areas with the pre-paid cards to report the time and date of smells from the water treatment works.

It has also pledged to increase monitoring patrols – where council workers go to the scene to sniff for themselves – to at least four times a day.

Leith councillor Gordon Munro, however, said the action is still not enough and has urged the council to begin issuing formal enforcement notices against Scottish Water.

He branded the postcards “tokenism”. He said: “What they gain from this I don’t know. By the time they receive the cards, the smell, you would hope, is long gone. Residents could also end up enduring the stench for up to a week but the council may receive just one postcard.

“This problem has gone on for far too long. I’ve smelled it twice in four days so obviously the plant isn’t coping. The council has sterner measures at its disposal and it’s about time it began to use them.”

At present, the council relies solely on the noses of its own officers to detect whether the plant is emitting a sufficient enough stench to warrant complaint. It can ultimately issue formal enforcement notices against Scottish Water and any failure to comply with such a notice could then result in a report to the procurator fiscal.

Residents had been promised that a recent £20 million odour improvement project would make the problem a thing of the past but the complaints have continued.

Rob Kirkwood, of Leith Links Residents’ Association, said he still received numerous calls and visits from neighbours about the smell. He said: “The instances are indeed fewer but in no way less smelly.

“Only last week residents complained about the stench but the council officer who turned up claimed he couldn’t smell anything. Now they have decided to send higher grade officers on patrol. Whether they have higher grade nostrils remains to be seen.”

The city council’s environment leader Councillor Robert Aldridge said: “What we hope to find from the postcard campaign is how far and wide this problem exists. We have also taken firm action by increasing the number of monitoring patrols around the plant.

“We want to make sure the plant is managed to the highest standards and that community concerns are addressed. The community have a key role in the monitoring process which is why we are asking them for their views.”

A Scottish Water spokeman said: “Scottish Water and Seafield operators Veolia Water UK have, throughout the delivery of the Odour Improvement Plan and subsequent monitoring period, continued to encourage residents to play their part in monitoring the works, by contacting our helpline.

“Scottish Water takes the issue of odour very seriously and that is why we have engaged directly with the community throughout the duration of this project.”