New £10m investment to beat Edinburgh's notorious "Seafield stench"

Residents also told of new sewage plant in 2030

Friday, 17th January 2020, 5:26 pm
Updated Friday, 17th January 2020, 5:30 pm
Rob Kirkwood says Scottish Water has used settlement tanks for storage

SCOTTISH Water has announced a £10 million investment in Edinburgh’s Seafield sewage works to tackle the notorious stench which has plagued the area for decades.

The money will pay for increased sludge storage at the site, which is Scotland’s biggest waste water treatment works, processing 300 million litres of water every day.

Rob Kirkwood of Leith Links Residents Association welcomed the move.

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“They’ve never had enough storage space for sludge. What they have been doing is using the open primary settlement tanks as storage, which is why we have had odours for 40 years.

“Primary settlement tanks are not supposed to be used as storage tanks, but the council has allowed them to do it.”

Mr Kirkwood said a Seafield stakeholders meeting yesterday had also been told of plans for a new state-of-the-art sewage works to be built on the site in 2030.

“The proposal is for a new, modern high-tech sewage works which we have been assured will aesthetically fit into the landscape and address the two key concerns we have - odour and noise.

“They rejected the idea of moving Seafield to another site on cost grounds.”

He said Scottish Water had told them the current works could cope with the projected population increase over the next 10 years, but something more would be needed after 2030.

Scottish Water said the investment in extra storage followed an independent review which made a number of recommendations.

Chief executive Douglas Millican said: “Scottish Water has already completed a lot of the work that was recommended and we are committed to working with the community to ensure the planned investment and future investment is done in partnership.

“We are bringing forward this investment in extra sludge storage to help with odour risk management and we are confident that, as strategically important sites, Seafield Newbridge works can accommodate additional waste water to meet the needs of a growing region.”

Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said the investment was "an important step in improving operational resilience and ensuring the

site continues to serve the growing needs of our capital city".

Edinburgh Northern & Leith MSP Ben Macpherson paid tribute to the residents and the community council for helping to secure the investment.

He said: “This investment should make a meaningful difference towards addressing the odour issues that occur in Leith, and improve the performance of the Seafield works for the benefit of Edinburgh as a whole.”

Council leader Adam McVey also welcomed the announcement. He said: "We hope this will significantly contribute to addressing odours from Seafield Waste Water Treatment Works. We will continue to monitor the progress being made to minimise the issue.”