Responses from Scottish Water and SEPA to enquiries by Dumfriesshire MSP Elaine Murray have revealed that discharges into the River Nith, observed by a member of the public, were caused by operational problems.
A discharge reported on 14th March was caused by rising sludge in the final settlement tanks overflowing into the river. Scottish Water were informed and immediately undertook work to stop the spill,, and SEPA have subsequently monitored the water quality on 6 occasions and found it to be compliant.
A discharge observed and photographed by the same member of the public on 7th June occurred when no treatment operative was on site, and was picked up, reported and repaired when the operative returned for his next shift. This was found to be due to a fault at one of the inlet tanks causing a spillage. SEPA were not aware of this incident.
Elaine Murray said:
“It is reassuring that the incidents were dealt with quickly after they were reported or discovered, however it is less reassuring that it took a report from a member of the public to alert SEPA and thereafter Scottish Water to the incident in March.
“It is also worrying that, at the time of the June incident, a spillage which occurred when the waste treatment operative was not on shift – sometime between 9am on the Saturday and 7am on the Sunday morning – and there seems to have been no monitoring during that time whether the plant was performing to the required standard.
“I hope these have been isolated incidents which do not reoccur. However if members of the public do observe unexpected discharge from a sewage works, this should be reported to Scottish Water’s Customer Helpline on 0845 601 8855”