Kelso in cobbles sewage row

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A blocked drain in Kelso’s town centre this week saw dirty water seep up through the ancient cobbled streets – with one resident claiming it was raw sewage.

Jeff Slater, who lives nearby, says the Victorian sewer system in the town sees sewage and rainwater carried by the same pipes.

He told us: “The sewage system in Kelso town centre is in terribly bad shape ... there just shouldn’t be a way up to the surface from the sewers. It’s not acceptable in this day and age.”

Representatives of Scottish Borders Council’s neighborhood’s team and Scottish Water were both called out to the area on different days this week, but both insisted no sewage was visible on the street.

A spokesperson for Scottish Water told us on Tuesday: “Our operatives were called out to Kelso yesterday morning and cleared a small choke on Roxburgh Street, no sewage was found to be in the immediate vicinity.”

Mr Slater said he blamed the ongoing Eildon Housing development at Roxburgh Street for the blockage, adding: “The contractors are supposed to sweep the street at the end of the working day, but the mud is instead getting into the drains.

“The silt blocks the drains and it comes up through the cobbles in the square.”

Michael Ballantyne of contractors M&J Ballantyne said he saw no sign of sewage.

He told us yesterday, after checking the site: “The only “evidence” of building works going on were some dirty water puddles where mud had been washed out the site during the heavy showers yesterday morning.

“I did have the road cleaned yesterday afternoon prior to us finishing at 4pm. We are now in the final throes of completion and if the rain stops, will be laying the final pavior surface imminently.”

Scottish Water would not comment on the reason for the blocked drain, but added: “We would like to remind customers to only flush the 3P’s – toilet paper, pee and poo down the toilet to avoid blockages to our sewer network and keep the cycle running.”

Scottish Water did confirm that Kelso has a combined sewer, adding that this was “pretty common” in its infrastructure.

Meanwhile, nearby Union Street will be closed from its junction with Roxburgh Street to its junction with Crawford Street on December 4 for five days to allow builders to carry out sewer connections and external works for a new development. Drivers are asked to take an alternative route – via Roxburgh Street and Bowmont Street – during the closure.