Extra patrols to monitor Seafield plant

The City of Edinburgh Council has increased its monitoring patrols of the local area around Seafield waste water treatment plant.

Council staff are now visiting and monitoring the area at least four times a day as the current warm weather spell continues. We are also continuing to investigate odour complaints from local residents.

Last year Scottish Water invested £20 million in an Odour Improvement Plan aimed at reducing the odour nuisance from the plant.

The Council put in place a rigorous monitoring programme to respond to complaints and ensure the plan is operating properly.

In addition a Scottish Code of Practice highlights the sewage works operator's responsibilities and provides the backbone to Council enforcement. 

Any failures in the management of the plant or breaches of the code could result in a warning letter to Scottish Water. Continuing breaches would result in a formal enforcement notice being issued and any failure to comply will result in a report to the Procurator Fiscal.

The one year monitoring and improvement plan started on 1 June 2011 and involves a pool of 18 Council staff. They have been specifically trained and respond quickly to any complaints about smell from the plant and investigate them thoroughly.

In addition 3,800 households in the area have been asked to help with the monitoring process by informing the Council when any odour emissions occur. These households have been given reply paid postcards to send their comments to the Council.  

Earlier this month there was an increase in odour from the plant which was not connected to the Odour Improvement Plan and was the responsibility of SEPA to take action on.

Cllr Robert Aldridge, Environment Leader said: "Given the current warm weather we have taken firm action by increasing the number of monitoring patrols in the area around the treatment plant.

"We want to make sure that the plant is managed to the highest standards and that community concerns are addressed. The community have a key role in the monitoring process which is why we will be asking them again for their views about how the Odour Improvement Plan has been working.

"We want to reassure the public that we will take strict action on any breaches to the Code of Practice."  

The 12 month assessment period runs until 31 May 2012.

The public can give their views on the success of the Odour Improvement Plan by taking part in a planned survey on the Council website from 9 to 27 April or by e-mailing publichealth@edinburgh.gov.uk

The 3,800 households in the vicinity of the plant will be mailed directly to ask for their views and feedback.

Notes to Editors

1. Odour assessment includes

  • Type of odour
  • Strength of odour
  • Persistence
  • Frequency
  • Wind direction
  • Other weather conditions
  • Proximity to works site boundary

2. Ten locations to monitor any smells have been chosen based on recorded complaints:

  • East Restalrig Terrace
  • Restalrig Road
  • Claremont Gardens
  • Prospect Bank Road
  • Pirniefield Gardens
  • Seafield Avenue
  • Claremont Park
  • Eastern general new housing site
  • Craigentinny Avenue North
  • Restalrig Crescent

3. The Scottish Code of Practice highlights the following "It is the intention to provide statutory controls, obligation and standards by placing a duty on Scottish Water ....to control and minimise odour and a requirement on local authority regulators to monitor and enforce operators' compliance."

4. The public can contact the Council on publichealth@edinburgh.gov.uk or phone 200 2000 where the staff will be able to contact a trained officer to investigate the complaint as quickly as possible. 

5. Further information is available on our website

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