I did suggest to the council that they try to keep folks up to date with what is happening at Ironmills Steps. Other than the decision made by the council committee to spend a sum of money on the repairs to the steps, there's very little info to be found.
So here is what I know about.
1. On Dec 1st the contractor (Crummock Ltd) will be digging a drainage track on the path from the old opening of the steps as far along as I guess the line of the landslip, heading towards the bowling club. The works will mean that the path will be closed to all for access at this time. God only knows why the council didn't do this 2 years ago, it is the singularly most sensible action required to assess the ground conditions at the top of the land slip.
2. The drainage track will be dug to look for any old water pipes, or perhaps live water pipes, that exist in this area. The information held on file seems to suggest that there is a live water pipe but Scottish Water wouldn't agree with that. Its a long story......
3 (a) After the repair to the road drains recently (one out of 3 drains was found to be leaking) the collector chamber manhole is now to be replaced with 2 new proper manholes. The existing manhole is also leaking, probably has been leaking since it was put in some time ago. That's because its a traffic light box!!!! with a concrete base - and its not integral. Road drain water running into this chamber may find its way into one of 2 pipes leading out of this manhole but not all the water will go into the pipes because the construction is not "sealed" either at the exit point of the pipes nor at its base. Hard to believe, or is it.
the interceptor chamber below ground.
- and above ground on a wet day. squelch.
UPDATE 17/12. The new replacement drainage pot.
Some 20 times larger than the interceptor chamber.
3 (b) Road Gulley
There are 3 road gulleys and the one nearest our house was found to be defective. The bottom had been cut off the gulley pot and concrete had been used in its place. The pot didn't hold water although that had never really been noticed and nor did it cause any obvious problems. Until these recent works allowed the dry drain to be the conduit of the septic tank smells!
The new gulley pot in place. 8th Oct 2014
4. There's a repair due to the pipe taking the water from the manhole to the outlet of the septic tank. An interceptor trap (think u bend under your sink) that existed was blocked and was only partially functioning. The trap was replaced with a straight section but I think that still needs to be sorted properly. Not sure.
5. Gerry and I have been asking the council to document the drainage conditions that have been discovered. We are still waiting. We would also like Ironside Farrar to take the drainage conditions into account in their assessment of the land slip failure mode. Amazingly none of the drainage info recently "unearthed" was available to IF when they made their assessment prior to their geotechnical survey.
6. Around the path area outside our house - the SP Energy Networks sub station has been re fenced after I asked SP E N to paint the old metal fence.
Instead of painting it they came along and offered to re fence in wood. It is beautiful, blends in so well and it hides the ugly sub station contraption behind.
7. Plants in front of the Heras fence. These are my plants. When the Heras fencing is removed (imminently said the council) I will imminently remove my plants. The Heras fencing will soon celebrate its second birthday.
8. Wood chip spread on the path area. That's my doing as well. An opportunity last week to have some wood chip was welcomed. It keeps the path dry-ish. I think the long term plans are to put down grey type 1 path material (yeuch!). In the past the path area here was red whin dust. It was lovely.
9. The stone wall. I have been asking for years now to have a tree removed from the wall! yes, a tree. It was a fair size, I used to cut it back as much as I could and it was damaging the wall. In a fit of "lets get this sorted" (I probably finally wore them down) the council asked the cemetery boys to remove the tree and all the ivy that was growing there as well. Job done, but it looks a little barren now.
After - the break in the stone cope is where the tree root had taken over
Justin Venton seemed keen on the idea of planting some native cotoneaster on the path side of the wall and I offered to buy some of that to make sure it happens. It could look really lovely in a few years time, what with the new fence at the sub station, the wall cleaned up and the path material sorted.
Think that's it, other than plans to have a public meeting with the council to hear what is happening at the steps and the footbridge. That's being planned between Eskbank & Newbattle community council with Dalkeith community council. Hopefully soon.