Edinburgh Council's '˜Russian roulette' over Seafield stench

RESIDENTS plagued by a stench from Seafield sewage works have complained that environment bosses are adopting a 'Russian roulette' approach to tackling the odour.

Monday, 19th September 2016, 2:36 pm
Updated Wednesday, 5th October 2016, 2:01 pm
STENCH: Seafield Sewage Works

The Evening News revealed earlier this year that a new “burning rubber” smell had started causing a nuisance for locals who had put up with a sewage stink for years.

They claimed the new stench made them feel sick and could pose a health risk.

Now the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) has identified a filter at the plant as the source of the smell.

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But Rob Kirkwood, chair of Leith Links Residents Association said: “Instead of shutting it down, they are allowing it to function at night and when the wind is offshore.

“It’s the Russian roulette approach – depending on the highly changeable wind direction.”

He claimed Sepa allowed night-time operation because residents would be asleep.

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But he said: “The smell is penetrating our houses and waking us up. Once they had identified something faulty they should have closed it down. But they have made this unacceptable compromise.

“Sepa’s priorities are all wrong. They are meant to be protecting the environment, but they seem more interested in protecting Scottish Water profits.”

“I’ve asked for a breakdown of the gases we are all breathing in and whether they are harmful to health. Whether they are dangerous or not, the smell is bad enough to wake us up. It’s repugnant and quite obnoxious.”

In a letter Sepa told Mr Kirkwood that sampling last month had confirmed a “siloxane filter” as the source of the odour, but additional testing was required to identify the compounds responsible for the smell.

Mr Kirkwood said: “I hope that Sepa will make it clear how the companies involved will be held to account.

“They created the odours, their monitors did not pick up on the gases being released, they ignored the empirical evidence that residents had traced the source to Seafield. These companies need to be held to account for operating with such poor procedures.”

A spokesperson for Scottish Water, which is responsible for the Seafield plant, said: “Earlier this year we were alerted to a burning odour issue at Seafield wastewater treatment works.

“The underlying cause of this issue was identified and site operators Veolia are managing the site under an action plan and mitigation measures which have been acknowledged by the city council and Sepa.”

A Sepa spokesman said it was working with the site operator during investigations into the source of the burning type odours. “The number of complaints regarding burning odours from the site has decreased since interim measures have been put in place to reduce the risk of odour emissions from the source.

“A long-term resolution to this issue is being discussed and implemented.”