Edinburgh's Easter Drylaw Drive residents furious after sewage flooding into back garden labelled 'not a priority'
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Residents whose gardens are being flooded with sewage water up to their knees are furious after they were told that fixing the problem is not a priority.
Tenants at five properties on Easter Drylaw Drive have been deluged by rainwater, surface water and sewage – up to 4ft deep - and they have even had faeces and needles floating in their gardens as a result of the problem. But after several years of pleading with Scottish Water and the council for help, they have been told that the street is not a priority for repairs.
One resident told the Evening News he is angry that his family is still suffering the aftermath every time there’s stormy weather or heavy rain. Now the man has said ‘enough is enough’ after recently receiving a letter from Scottish Water stating: “Based on our current investment priorities your property doesn’t qualify for a long term capital solution at this time.”
The dad-of-two who asked not to be named, said he first reported the problem in summer of 2019 and has also contacted the council over the years but was told Scottish Water couldn’t afford works recommended by independent contractors. The man said: “It’s a total nightmare. We’ve had about seven floods in the past couple of years. We were told when it started that these events happen only once every ten years but it’s more than once a year. It stinks and the clean up is horrific.
“Every time our gardens are ruined. We have human faeces to clean up and on a couple of occasions we have come across hypodermic needles. Some of the residents have very small children. This is surely a health and safety issue. People could catch something from that water. We have to take time off work to get our gardens and basements back to normal. It is incredibly stressful and has a major impact on our lives.”
His home is one of five properties situated at a low point within Easter Drylaw Drive where roads converge Easter Drylaw Avenue and Easter Drylaw Bank. One of the properties has an outlet which proceeds to the rear of the properties but it backs onto the railway and there is an embankment. Once gullies are at capacity and water reaches the very back from the outlet it has nowhere to go so it courses back down into gardens of families.
He added: “This year in August we had another big thunderstorm and it covered the whole back garden area. I was out at work and had to get home to clean up. We were all up to our knees in it. Myself and neighbours have basements which the flood and sewage water seeps into through the brickwork and we have to get Scottish Water to come out to sanitise but they can take weeks to come out after. The only person who has supported us is Councillor Hal Osler. Nobody else seems to give a damn. It’s unacceptable to leave people in this state.”
Residents have been told by the council that their Surface Water Management Plans will identify the most critical areas in the city but stressed there are many affected areas across the city and limited funding.
A Scottish Water spokesperson said; “Scottish Water’s investigations have shown that there is a risk of sewer flooding at this location. This flooding is made worse by surface water run off which is the responsibility of City of Edinburgh Council. We have installed a Non-Return Valve on the sewer serving the properties to help reduce the risk of external garden flooding. We have also written to those affected offering further property level protection to reduce the internal impact from flooding.
"Sewer flooding mitigation projects are prioritised based on the frequency sewer flooding occurs and whether this is internal or external. Our investigation found that these properties do not meet the threshold for investment in a permanent sewer flooding mitigation project. We are committed to working with the City of Edinburgh Council on flooding issues as they become more frequent due to climate change. We are working together to develop a multi-agency, place led approach to sustainably manage drainage and surface water, and create flood resilient communities.”
Edinburgh council has been contacted for comment.