Raw sewage spilling into the River Teviot has been deemed “perfectly acceptable” by Scottish Water.
That’s according to Councillor Stuart Marshall, who called a meeting with officials from the utility company at the weekend to discuss the situation on the river bank adjacent the former Pringle factory in Glebe Mill Street.
Mr Marshall says he has been fielding calls from concerned residents for several days, and he, too, has voiced his fears over the situation, highlighting the possible effect on the local environment.
He said: “I’ve been contacted by residents in Mansfield who are shocked to see raw sewage spilling into the Teviot whenever there is heavy rainfall.
“I met with Scottish Water [last] Sunday, and they informed me that this was perfectly acceptable as the escape was only occurring when we experienced heavy rainfall and that it was coming from an overflow pipe.”
Councillor Watson McAteer said an overflow pipe on the river bank was regularly seen spewing sewage after bouts of excessive rainfall.
He said: “It is understood this is happening as a result of the December floods when the nearby main sewer system was badly damaged.
“I have viewed the area and the residue of this problem is plainly there for all to see.”
Bill Elliot, Scottish Water’s local team manager, said: “Following the significant damage ... there was a recent discharge to the River Teviot from a Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO).
“CSOs are designed to act as safety valves in the waste water network, helping to prevent flooding to homes and gardens.
“For example, during or following particularly heavy rain, they can sometimes be used to discharge diluted waste water through an overflow pipe.”
Mr Elliot also said that the CSOs are managed under licence from the Scottish Environment Protection Agency and are invested in and maintained to ensure discharge standards and requirements are met.
Councillor McAteer added: “While the regulator may be prepared to accept this situation, townsfolk are not and Scottish Water needs to resolve this problem as a matter of urgency.”