Coal Authority project to help clean the South Esk

Thursday February 3rd 2022

Downstream-from-near-the-Old-Fordell-adit

The South Esk river.


Written by Midlothian View Reporter, Luke Jackson

This week the Coal Authority shared more information about its latest project to protect and enhance the environment in Scotland.

Two online sessions were held on Monday to explain about plans to build a new mine water treatment scheme in Dalkeith to help clean the South Esk river.

Residents who attended heard more details about the plans for the treatment scheme, which will remove iron and manganese, from water flowing from a historical drainage tunnel linked to the extensive underground coal mine workings in the Midlothian area.

There was also the opportunity for people to ask questions about the project, for which the Coal Authority will be submitting details for planning approval imminently with a view to starting the main construction later this year.

More detailed design work will be done over the coming months to develop the scheme and residents and stakeholders will have opportunities to provide feedback as the designs progress.

John Batty, Coal Authority Project Manager, said: “I think a lot of residents are keen to see this project progress as the river is so visibly orange as a result of the mine water, and the negative impact on the wildlife and ecology is widely known.

“The scheme we’re proposing to build is next to the drainage tunnel, known locally as Junkies adit, near Newmills Road, so we will be working with residents who live nearby to minimise any impact and take into consideration anything they may be concerned about.

“The mine workings are complex so it has taken many years to get to this point. We have been working to carry out studies and investigations, evaluate potential solutions and establish water quality by taking water samples on a regular basis through the challenges of the pandemic. We have undertaken research using a test treatment scheme on site last spring that provided a large amount of information to feed into the designs.”

“We are continuing to work in partnership with the Scottish Environment Protection Agency and other local organisations to ensure we provide the best possible solution for all.

“I’m grateful for the support we’ve received and I’m pleased to be reaching this milestone in our project development.”

Paul Butler, SEPA Mining Sector Lead, said:

“Scotland’s waters are at their best status on record and the best in the UK, but we know there are significant environmental problems caused by a number of pressures, such as the impact from historic mine workings as seen on the South Esk in Dalkeith.

“Partnership working is key to tackling these issues, and SEPA takes an active role in the Esk River Improvement Group (ERIG). We are also committed to working in partnership with the Coal Authority to reduce the impacts of mine water from former deep coal mines in Scotland.

“Our focus in recent years has been on finding a solution to the complex issue of mine water flowing into the South Esk. We are pleased that the progress we have made together has enabled the Coal Authority to provide information on the proposals for a new mine water treatment scheme at the site of Junkies Adit.

“We will continue to work with the Coal Authority and other stakeholders as the scheme progresses and welcome the benefits that the mine water treatment scheme will bring for the river and the local community.”

Colin Beattie, MSP for Midlothian North and Musselburgh, said:

“I would like to thank the Coal Authority for organisation this informative event and I am pleased the public have taken interest in the proposed treatment scheme in the South Esk River.

“I think it is important that the public are involved with the process and it is vital public engagement continues as the scheme progresses. I look forward to seeing the next stages of the treatment scheme and working with the Coal Authority, SEPA, and the local community on this project.”

 

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