River Esk update 25 January 2022

  25 January 2022

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency and East Lothian Council are continuing to work together to respond to the pollution incident which occurred in the River Esk at Musselburgh on Friday 14 January.

We have continued to closely monitor the river environment in recent days including over the weekend. The various measures installed in the watercourse to contain contamination are working effectively and are being replenished as necessary.

Clean-up operations continue to progress. A tanker was back out on site on Monday and removed a further significant amount of contaminated material from the Craigie Burn.

While the situation with discoloured water and odour in the River Esk has improved, local people may still observe some discolouration on the surface of the river as well as the Craigie Burn, which discharged into the Esk, particularly if we experience significant rainfall patterns.

Frequent multi-agency assessment of progress continues to be made in order to inform further remedial actions, including further deployment of the tanker as necessary.

In working together to respond to the incident, SEPA and the council have been supported by Scottish Water and the Scottish SPCA.

SEPA continues to carry out a range of investigations and assessments to trace the source of the pollution and officers are pursuing a number of lines of enquiry.

SEPA officers are undertaking dye testing today which will involve using luminous green tracer dye to check drainage system connections. The dye is designed for this purpose and is not harmful to the environment or local ecology.

Water samples have been taken from several locations and are being analysed by SEPA scientists to identify a range of contaminants found which will help to identify the source.

Survey activity carried out by SEPA ecologists to understand the impact of the pollution incident on the River Esk and its affected tributary was repeated today. It continues to show that while the receiving burn is currently heavily impacted, the short-term impact on the river is low.