Sunday, July 27, 2008

Sunday Sewerage Scandal

The smell of human excrement hung over the town centre as the storm drains emptied contaminated water into the River Nairn. The river, very low after the dry spell, was unable to absorb the sudden influx and changed to an ugly grey as the rains fell once again. The Merryton Bridge sewerage pipe was once again a major contributor to the pollution as these pictures show. (all pictures will enlarge)

Here the sewerage runs away to the left of the bridge, very soon flats will be built close to this area.

The contaminated water flows to the right also, forming a huge sewerage lagoon that quickly covered the riverside path and cycle route.

The view from the other side of the filthy lagoon.

The outflow runs away from the newly created lagoon, trying to find a way into the river.

Nearby sanitary towels flowed down the river towards the swans and ducks and other wildlife that were enjoying the Island sanctuary.

There had been discharges too on the Fishertown side of the 'Sewerage Bridge' and Nairnites will once again have to walk through the remains of the discharge.
Of course it was not only the Merryton bridge that was contaminating the riverside, the outflow from this drain doesn't look too healthy and there was a sheen of oil on the surface of the water in this area, a popular spot for the bird feeding brigade.

This week's Nairnshire carried a quote from a Scottish Water spokesman concerning a similar incident at the Merryton Bridge last weekend, Jason Rose said: 'Our men were out pretty quickly to clear it up. It appears there was no blockage but the system was overwhelmed by heavy rain. We will be keeping an eye on it and coming back to have a look at it in the long term.'
Looks like it needs a look in the short term too Mr Rose!

Let's hope today wasn't the day that the Bathing Water Quality test sample was taken. The Gurn asks, should Nairnites and holiday makers be warned that they are walking in areas that have recently been contaminated with sewerage?
Update: the Gurn has received a number from a concerned reader that anyone concerned about these issues can phone to complain about this or anyother pollution they may see in the river: Its SEPA (Scottish Environmental Protection Agency) on 01349 862021.


jayteescot1 said...

I have emailed your blog url to SEPA...they can have a close look at exactly what happens everytime we have heavy rain !
The global weather changes means that we are likely to see a lot more of this in future.

The simple truth is that Nairn drainage and sewage system is unfit for purpose, and is now away over capacity.
It's time the town demanded an upgraded system to cope with all the new housing developments before we are all victims of disease from this Scottish water scandal.
Hope all your readers phone SEPA and demand action. the number is :
01349 862021

Spelding said...

Good photos, Gurn. I was down that way today and your photos show what was happening. The water from the drain was running in a torrent down the path forming a deep pool.

Still, one good thing from this, at least the residue from the last incident has been washed away. According to the Nairnshire article, Mr Rose mentions that his men were out fairly quickly to deal with the problem on the Saturday but, both the visual evidence and the smell, in the area was still there a week later on both sides of the path. Hopefully, whatever is left from today’s spill, will be dealt with and the potential health hazard cleared away properly this time. People and animals are walking through this and there are no warning signs that the area is contaminated, ok, most locals are aware of the situation but visitors don’t.

Mr Rose’s comments made it seem that this is new phenomenon but it has been happening for some time now, maybe it is the first time he has seen it? Obviously there is a major problem which the drainage system just can’t cope with during heavy rain.

Further up the river you could see the impact from fouled water pouring out of the Auldearn burn and various storm outflows near the Railway bridge and Town bridge, the water was rapidly turning from its normal clear colour to a thick grey sludge. From the Jubilee Bridge down to the harbour the smell was disgusting, hopefully this will clear soon.

Anonymous said...

I was at the Merryton Bridge at 7.00 tonight and 2 Scottish Water men were pressure hosing away the human detritus. The stench was disgusting and the river had turned a grey colour from there to the sea. The beach would have failed any test and any holidaymakers in for a late swim would certainly have been made very very ill. This has been going on too long and its time it was rectified before serious illness occurs to animals or humans. The salmon must also suffer as they would have been nosing in to the estuary - hopefully they too turned away in disgust..

Nairn said...

I am sure none of us want a drainage system based on luck but that is what we currently have in Nairn.
Had Sundays downpour occurred near to the the top of high tide the amount of backing up from drains would have been been much worse, with the possibility of flooding. As it was there were very large pools of water in the Fishertown with drains clearly unable to cope.
Our drainage system seems to match the new Fishertown street lights - Victorian and none too good!
Hundreds of new homes have been built in recent years in Nairn but with no visible sign of improvements to the town's infrastructure. The current economic situation may slow new development but meanwhile can somebody in charge put a halt on new buildings until the drainage is sorted? We need much much more than a few folk turning up from the water board when there is an incident - the Gurn pictures say it all

Anonymous said...

In reply to Salar,should it be?
Catch two turds a day,and not two salmon,then everything would be returned.Hard to swallow.

Anonymous said...

There has been some/a lot of investment in Nairn as regards the sewerage/drainage system in recent years and no system will be able to take everything mother nature has to throw at it - thus the scenes at the river overflow pipes can sometimes be traumatic to nature lovers. There are no easy answers and everything costs money. Yes there seem to be problems in the Fishertown and perhaps elsewhere in the town but it all depends sadly, where financial priorities lie.
What is a disgrace is the fact that the manholes on both sides of the sewerage bridge rise up and allow such major contamination out - these are manhole covers not storm drains and this suggests a serious problem in this area.

Graisg said...

Still smells bad down at the Bridge folks (1600) and plenty of material still on the path.

Anyway coming soon on your favourite blog - Merryton Bridge the video: 'Shit happens!'

Anonymous said...

The reek from our sewer treatment plant often wafts across the caravan park/beach, so much do that I have turned back when walking the area if the wind is in a certain direction.
Clearly what we have in Nairn is a new tourist trail opening up, out with the whisky and in with the poo trail. Local gift shops could sell plastic turds,and the hospital could administer treatment for anyone foolish enough to venture into the sea.
Next year we could see if we could be awarded a brown flag for our beaches
Money, priorities?! Surely the case for spending doesn't come much stronger than raw sewage on the streets!

Anonymous said...

maybe all that white bread that folk are feeding the ducks has bunged things up

Graisg said...

We also had an e-mail from Salar last night but have been slow on getting round to opening the incoming mail today - sorry Salar.

The river was, at 7.00pm a gray polluted stinking mess.
Anybody swimming on the beach (which has been mobbed and was this afternoon) could get a severe dose of everything thats going.
I can still smell it right now, and I have been home for 3 hours. It has contaminated my nose and skin I am sure.