Highlands and Islands Labour MSP, Rhoda Grant, has welcomed a long awaited investigation into the sewer along Harbour Road in Inverness. The MSP was contacted by IDM Safety Solutions (IDM) back in September 2022 advising of a problem with sewage back spilling into premises on Harbour Road though their toilets.
Mrs Grant met with the Managing Director of IDM, Iain Macphail (pictured above), and one of the businesses affected. It became apparent that the problem was not restricted to just one business however with other businesses along Harbour Road also submitting pictures and video footage to the MSP showing the scale of the problems they had experienced.
Mrs Grant subsequently set up a roundtable meeting with the affected business owners, some of whom had incurred significant clean-up costs, together with Scottish Water and Highland Council who had appeared to be blaming each other for the problem.
She said “Given the clear environmental and health and safety implications, I pressed for a meeting with both Scottish Water and Highland Council.”
Following the meeting in December 2022, Scottish Water arranged for their specialist drainage engineer to visit affected sites with a view to progressing an initial investigation into the problem. In early February 2023, Highland Council confirmed that the road gullies on Harbour Road had been cleared as a result of the meeting.
The MSP continued “Appeals to both Scottish Water and the Scottish Government to fund the clean-up costs fell on deaf ears and the only way through was to keep pressing for the cause of the problem to be properly investigated.”
Scottish Water has now confirmed that an investigation, involving CCTV of the sewer, is scheduled to start this week, with the relevant traffic management in place. They advise that due to the scope and scale of the FMAP investigation required at this location, it has meant that this has been put through their capital delivery process to be programmed.
Scottish Water advise that the FMAP survey is expected to last 4 weeks with the work taking place at night to minimise disruption in the area as much as possible. Issues such as silt/fat/wipes, etc. will be cleared at the time of the survey and, once the survey is complete, the data obtained will then need to be input and analysed for hydraulic modelling. This analysis they say, will take time and they work on a prioritised basis across Scotland to ensure highest priority is given to those properties at greatest risk of internal sewer flooding.
Rhoda Grant said “Progress to date has been slow but I am pleased to now be advised that the investigation of the sewer will start this week. I hope this will result in positive action being taken to address the problem and I thank the businesses who have taken the time to highlight their situation to me.”
Iain Macphail of IDM Safety Solutions said “This has been a challenge for our clients and others affected by the continual waste water ingress to their businesses and places of work and I am extremely grateful for the support of Rhoda and her team to continually push for this investigation which will hopefully allow the issue to be rectified for all those affected by it.”
Mrs Grant concluded “I will be keeping a close eye on what the investigation shows as we simply must get this situation resolved given the nature of the problem.”