River Esk update 28 January 2022

  28 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 14 January.

Close analysis and monitoring of the river highlights that the situation continues to improve with the appropriate controls and measures having been put in place to contain and mitigate any remaining polluting material.

Further investigations and ecological studies are continuing to fully understand the cause and implications of the incident.

While the situation with discoloured water and odour in the River Esk has improved significantly in the last two weeks, local people may still observe some residual polluted material/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 and next steps, supported by East Lothian Council’s contractor.

Further survey activity has been carried out by SEPA ecologists to understand the impact of the pollution incident on the River Esk and its affected tributary, and this will continue at regular intervals. Survey activity continues to show that while the receiving burn remains impacted, the short-term impact on the river continues to be low, and there has been no further deterioration.

SEPA has also continued to carry out a range of investigations and assessments in relation to the source of the pollution. While officers have been pursuing a number of lines of enquiry, it is not possible for SEPA to comment further at this stage given that it is a live investigation.

SEPA officers undertook dye testing earlier this week 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. Residents may still spot green dye in the water but there is no cause for alarm.

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