Diesel leak sourced to SBC depot

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AN investigation is ongoing after diesel from a Scottish Borders Council depot was found to have leaked into a burn for six weeks, writes Kenny Paterson.

Oil from the authority’s roads depot at Newtown St Boswells poured into Bowden Burn – a River Tweed tributary – and has resulted in “significant” damage to wildlife.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) said the fuel spill has caused an “intermittent but persistent” problem in the water system since mid-March.

A SEPA spokesperson said: “After extensive investigations into the possible causes, including sampling of the discharge which determined the pollution was diesel/gas oil, the source was traced back to the Scottish Borders Council roads depot.

“It was caused by a leaking pipe leading from a diesel oil storage tank to a fuel delivery pump. The pipe was located under the concrete surface of the depot, and therefore the leak was not easy to find.”

A tanker was arranged to remove the oil and the leak was stopped two weeks ago by excavating around the faulty pipe and placing a bung over the nearest manhole.

The spokesman added: “Excavations are continuing to further isolate the oil and to remove contaminated soil.

“Due to the prolonged nature of this discharge the impact on the Bowden Burn invertebrate life has been significant, but it is now recovering.

“We have requested that SBC submit a proposal to address the issues on site together with timescales for completion of the work identified.”

A spokesperson for Scottish Borders Council said: “We have been working closely with SEPA on this matter.

“We took immediate action to source the problem, which was eradicated within a few days.

“The council treats any environmental issue like this very seriously and longer-term solutions are being proposed to eliminate any future problems.”

The diesel spill at Bowden Burn follows a similar incident at Sprouston Burn in December last year, when 700 litres of the fuel leaked into the River Tweed tributary.

Newtown Community Council vice-chairman Roger French took up the case with SEPA back then, and said this week: “The village is dismayed by yet another diesel/gas oil leakage into one of Newtown’s burns.”