When the roads and pavements near Letham Cottages and Letham Terrace, in Letham, near Airth, flooded on Sunday due to heavy overnight rainfall it once again highlighted a long running problem which is not just a potentially hazardous nuisance for motorists, but a public health risk for pedestrians.
The Scottish Water pumping station near the entrance to Letham Terraces cannot cope with heavy rainfall and when it fails the area is flooded with water contaminated with human waste from toilets in nearby homes.
One householder said: “This sewage water presents a real public health concern. You have children walking through this stuff to get to the bus stop to get to school.”
Another added: “They say we have to wait until at least August 2021 before it is fixed. I think they should be putting signs up to at least make people aware of the risk this waste filled flood water poses.
“Children and adults are wading through this water – which contains waste and sewage from houses – and taking it into their school and their homes on their feet.
“They are just treating this like it’s ordinary floodwater and it’s not.”
The drainage system in question consists of a combined drainage pipeline which allows water to flow to the Letham pumping station, which in turn transfers the flow to the Airth catchment for treatment at Airth Waste Treatment Works.
During wet weather periods the flow transfer capacity of the Letham pumping station is exceeded and a combined storm overflow then activates to discharge excess storm water directly to the adjacent natural water course environment.
However, the combined storm overflow pipe from Letham pumping station has been damaged and no longer effectively takes the storm water to the required watercourse.
Scottish Water and Falkirk Council are working on a project to fix the problem – looking to replace the damaged overflow pipeline.
This work is not scheduled to take place for over a year with construction due to take place between January and August in 2021.
This week a Scottish Water spokeswoman said: “We are aware of flooding in this area and understand it is the local burn that floods at times of heavy rainfall. The flooding from the burn will sometimes impact our sewer network capacity.
“Scottish Water is engaging with Falkirk Council on this issue and we have plans to install a new pipeline in the area in early 2021. Any of our customers who experience sewer flooding in the area can contact us so we can investigate.”
A Falkirk Council spokesperson added: “We are aware of the flooding issues at Letham Terrace and are in dialogue with Scottish Water regarding details of their proposals and timescales to address matters relating to the sewer network.
“Our Environmental Protection Team have been monitoring the situation and the Council’s roads and flooding teams have been addressing general flooding issues in the area, where possible.”