River Esk pollution incident update

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency and East Lothian Council are continuing to work together to respond to last Friday’s pollution incident in the River Esk at Musselburgh. 

As a precaution, pending SEPA laboratory sample results, general advice is for people and pets to avoid the immediate water environment at this time. Anglers are also being advised not to fish from the Esk at this time.

Pollution discharge

Last Saturday, SEPA officers identified the location of the pollution discharge and, while the discharge into the river has stopped, there is likely to be some residual material evident in the water. It may take time to dissipate with continued water discolouration and odour, which is expected to decrease in the coming days.

Clean-up work

A specialist contractor, brought in to support clean-up work, has put a number of surface and underwater booms in the watercourse to further protect the natural environment which will be refreshed as required. Water samples taken across the incident are being analysed at SEPA laboratories to help identify the material, impact and potential source.  

Bird and aquatic life

Recognising the environmental significance of the Esk and the importance of bird and aquatic life, Scottish SPCA are aware and have been in attendance. Given the current national risk of avian influenza (bird flu), It is requested that the public do not touch or handle any birds but instead report these to Scottish SPCA on 03000 999 999.

Pollution hotline

SEPA has asked for anyone with information on the pollution incident to contact its 24 Hour Pollution Hotline on 0800 80 7060; online at sepa.org.uk/report or to contact CrimeStoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

21 Jan 2022