Public warned over sewage spill

A sewage spill into Scotland's Firth of Forth has prompted local council leaders to issue a warning urging the public to avoid contact with the water.

Warning notices have been erected along affected parts of the estuary's shoreline after more than 100 million litres of sewage poured into the water when pumping equipment at a treatment plant in Leith failed.

Thames Water, which owns the Seafield Wastewater Treatment Plant, has confirmed that sewage is still pumping into the water following the incident on Friday afternoon.

However the utilities company has said that it is in the process of installing temporary pumping equipment at the site in order to prevent further sewage contaminating the water.

"This system is robust enough to treat the flow as normal while the faulty pump is repaired," a Thames Water spokeswoman explained.

In the meantime, environmental health officers from Edinburgh City Council have advised local residents and visitors to avoid contact with the water and to wash their hands after visiting the area.

"We urge people to ensure they maintain high standards of personal hygiene and do not take anything home from the beach until sewage has dispersed," said council leader Ewan Aitken.

The Scottish Environment Agency (Sepa) said yesterday that it was "satisfied" that Thames Water were taking necessary steps to "avoid and minimise" pollution following the incident.

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