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The Filth of Forth – Spill 2007-04-22

Posted by clype in Health, Scotland.

Scottish Water say engineers have been working ’round the clock’ in a bid to stem the flow of millions of litres of sewage into ‘The Firth of Forth’.

The major spill was caused by a pump failure at ‘Seafield Wastewater Treatment Plant’ in Leith on Friday 2007-04-20.

It is hoped a new pump can be fitted to stop the overflow by the end of Sunday 2007-04-22.

The public has been warned to avoid contact with water while 1 000 litres/second of partially diluted sewage pumps into the Forth.

The plant, run by ‘ Thames Water‘, treats sewage for 800 000 people in and around Edinburgh.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency‘ (‘SEPA’) said emergency measures to ‘minimize the risk of pollution’ were being put in place and warned the public not to come into contact with the water.

General Manager for Scottish Water Mr.Peter Farrer said:

‘There has been a catastrophic failure of one of the large pumps at “Seafield” which pumps waste water into the treatment works.

‘We have had teams of engineers “working around the clock” to try and rectify this problem.

‘The pumps are on their way — and when the pumps are put into place then that will rectify the problem.’

General Manager for Scottish Water said the failure affected just one of the flows going into the treatment works and that Seafield continued to treat the rest of its intake as normal.

He said it was impossible to stop the flow as the system is designed to use the emergency overflow into the Forth when something goes wrong.

General Manager for Scottish Water insisted that because the effluent was flowing through a screening process, which takes out solid material, ‘aesthetically you won’t see anything from the discharge’.

The General Manager of Customer Operations for Scottish Water Mr. John Rae explained that the sewage flow would have to be diverted before higher capacity pumps could be installed.

‘The line that’s coming in where we have the problem is only about a quarter of the total flow that “Thames” actually treat.

‘Now in saying that, it’s still a huge flow that’s actually coming in — so they have to be able to divert that fully to stop the emergency overflow from running.’

‘Scottish Water’ also apologised for any inconvenience to its customers.

Head of Community Safety at Edinburgh City Council Mr.Gordon Greenhill said the sewage spill raised public health concerns but would not be a long-term environmental problem.

‘The volume of sewage going into the Forth estuary is a concern as it has the capacity to come back on to the shore,’ he said.

‘Any raw sewage has human pathogens in it which has the capacity to make people ill.’

Residents in Leith have been campaigning for years about the smell from the plant and say it is not fit for purpose.

The Chairman of Leith Links Residents’ Association Mr.Rob Kirkwood said:

‘It has an infrastructure that is basically “Third World” technology.’

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