Cause of suspected sewage leak still a mystery

The foul-smelling substance has been leaking from the wall in Earlston's High Street for seven months.
The foul-smelling substance has been leaking from the wall in Earlston's High Street for seven months.

Earlston residents are kicking up a stink over what appears to be a sewage leaking from a property in the town’s High Street.

The noxious substance has been oozing out of a wall for the last seven months, causing concern, especially to parents of children at the nearby nursery, primary and secondary schools.

Resident Billy Thom told the Southern: “There’s been fluid leaking from the wall since Christmas, and anyone walking past can tell it is sewage. It’s stinking.

“Scottish Borders Council and Scottish Water have sent people to look at it, and they have done tests but haven’t yet done anything to fix it.

“Parents with prams and buggies are trying to avoid getting their wheels coated in it, so they have to step onto the busy road, and it just happens to be a part of the road that narrows.

“And people who may think it’s just water, they are walking through it, spreading it to their homes or schools.”

The 55-year-old joiner added: “I have spoken to the council on several occasions, and it’s now got to the stage that I’ve just got fed up talking to them. It’s now been seven months, and it’s ridiculous that it has not been sorted yet.”

Adam Warner, a corporate affairs officer at Scottish Water, said: “Scottish Water takes the issue of sewage leaks very seriously.

“Following joint investigations with Scottish Borders Council, we do not believe the leak in High Street, Earlston, is an issue with Scottish Water’s infrastructure.

“We have used CCTV to inspect the local sewer network including sections of private pipework but have not found any issues.

“We are continuing to work with Scottish Borders Council as they carry out further investigations.”

The local authority said it is currently waiting for results of an analysis of a sample taken from the wall before a decision on the way forward is made.

A spokesman for the council said: “The council and Scottish Water have been working together for a number of months to try to find out the cause of the discharge.

“A considerable amount of work has been carried out, with repair works, dye tests and CCTV surveys of the drainage network all taking place.

“The council’s environmental health team has now sent away a sample from the wall for analysis, with the results determining what action is now taken.”

Mr Thom added: “If this was a town such as Melrose, it would have been fixed months ago.

“It’s dangerous, and I hope it is fixed before an accident happens or someone becomes ill.”