Environmental Health aware of mine water concerns

The Environmental Health Service is aware of concerns around mine water from the old Bilston Glen Colliery discharging into the River South Esk.

Letter to the Chief Executive

In a letter to Midlothian Council’s Chief Executive, Dr Grace Vickers, SEPA states it is working with the Coal Authority, which aims to have a £1 million temporary mine water treatment scheme in place in the autumn.

Continued deterioration of water quality

The flow of the mine water discharge at Old Fordell has increased over the last 2 to 3 years, and there has been a continued deterioration in mine water quality over the last year. The discharge at Old Fordell has negatively affected the water quality, ecology and amenity of the River South Esk, SEPA states.

Orange discolouration

Mine water contains naturally occurring metals, such as iron, from the mined rocks. When mine water flows into a river, the iron settles on the bed of the river, causing the orange staining.

River levels have fallen

Until April 2020, the impact on the river had always remained localised. The sustained period of dry weather since March 2020, has seen river levels fall. The reduction in river flow means that the orange discolouration in the South Esk has become much more visible. This is because there is less dilution available in the river and so the visual impact of the mine water has increased.

A permanent treatment scheme planned

The progress towards a permanent mine water treatment scheme is likely to be around two to three years, according to SEPA.

23 Jun 2020