A SEPTIC tank which has been discharging raw sewage for three months was finally tackled by Scottish Water this week.
The problem materialised before Christmas at a communal tank at Lindean – yet it took until this week for the utility firm to act over residents’ concerns about the blocked tailpipe.
About six weeks ago a contractor working for Scottish Water emptied the tank and dug a channel to prevent the sewage from pooling in a field, but failed to deal with the blockage. The channel also resulted in sewage flowing into a nearby burn.
Lindean resident Mike Marsh told TheSouthern on Monday: “Scottish Water sent a contractor who dug a channel to stop it flowing into the field, diverting it into a burn, but the burn fills a bath sunk into the ground for the sheep to drink out of.
“Fortunately, there are no sheep in the field just now.”
Mr Marsh added that the contractor had lifted a manhole cover over the tailpipe and wedged it open to allow the waste to overflow from there.
“It is a horrible mess,” he said. “It is a continual discharge of dirty water.”
Mr Marsh believes that the tank serves about a dozen homes, but is no longer fit for purpose.
“The tank leaks anyway. It is an old brick one that should’ve been changed years ago. In the summer it reeks and the place gets riddled with flies.”
He added that following the creation of the channel a grey sludge and rubbish had appeared on stones in the burn.
A Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) spokesman said: “We received two complaints during October and November 2012 regarding untreated sewage overflowing from a septic tank at Lindean, near Selkirk. Scottish Water was requested to carry out an investigation and clean-up operation to resolve the issue, which was completed on each occasion.
“Discharges of sewage effluent from the septic tank into the Lindean Burn are allowed, provided that the effluent has been treated and no longer poses any risk of pollution to the watercourse.
“Following the complaints received in 2012, no further issues have been raised with SEPA regarding this site.”
Local councillor Gordon Edgar said he had been made aware of the blockage before Christmas, but believed it had been sorted after contacting Scottish Water. However, after speaking to residents a fortnight ago, Mr Edgar contacted Scottish Water again and asked them to resolve the problem.
On Tuesday a team from Scottish Water cleared the blocked tailpipe. A spokesman for the company said they would “continue to monitor the tank”.