Union Canal: Water levels being restored as dams plug breach

Clay dams are working at the site of the breach

Saturday, 15th August 2020, 7:41 am
An aerial view of the 30m wide breach on Wednesday. (Pic: Scottish Canals)

Water passing through the breach in the Union Canal has been stopped completely.

Temporary clay dams which were put in place by Scottish Canals in the last few days have been successful in halting the flow and work is now starting to restore water levels on the east side of the breach.

A fish rescue has also been taking place after some were stranded as a result of the breach.

A 30 metre section of the towpath and embankment near Whitecross and Muiravonside was washed away in the early hours of Wednesday morning after torrential rain and thunderstorms over night.In the latest statement on its website Scottish Canals said: “Following the update that the breach had been filled, we are pleased to be able to report that the water flow has now stopped completely.

"It is important to note that this week’s severe weather was a one in 240 year event, according to SEPA.

“We are starting to restore water levels on the east side of the breach, which is where the water feed is located, and this will allow us to begin pumping water to the west side.

"This is important for restoring boat movements between the Union Canal, The Falkirk Wheel and the Kelpies in the coming days.

“We are aware that some fish were stranded as a result of Wednesday’s breach.

"Yesterday (Thursday) we instructed our contractors to progress a fish rescue and this morning the team arrived on site and moved a number of stranded fish, including perch, from near the breach to an unaffected area of the canal.

"We have been in contact SEPA, the Scottish Federation for Course Angling and the Forth Rivers Trust, who were on site this morning, and are continuing to update them as the situation progresses.”

The breach saw water from the canal make its way downhill and onto the tracks of the main Edinburgh to Glasgow railway line.

The line has been closed ever since due to the damage caused with no trains able to pass.

It is expected the rail disruption will continue for a number of weeks.

The canal is closed to through boating traffic and there is currently a towpath closure in place from the A801 bridge to the Vellore Road bridge.

The statement added: “We are working with contractors, partners and landowners to identify either an offsite or onsite towpath diversion and hope to be able to update next week.”

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