The Water Tower

The Water Tower
The Water Tower at Dusk

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Water on Ironmills Slope

Midlothian Council and The Advertiser have recently reported on the continued closure of Ironmills Steps.

It's not a great bit of news really, it is basically inconclusive as to whether or not works might start soon to re instate the access with new steps on the land slipped slope.
It's a risk. 

Why is that?

Because despite expensive repair works there's still water running on the slope.

Why is that?

Because the water source can't be found.

Why is that?

Because the councils' investigation was cut short last year.

Why is that?

Because Scottish Water were initially helping out but a sample indicating the water might be drainage water led them to walk away from the problem.

Why is that?

Because SW would have been charged to recompense the council for the land slip costs had it been proven that the water was Mains water. The sight of a cruddy smelly sample led everyone to believe the source was a drain. Thing is - I can't replicate that sample and neither can the council....

So that's it. 5 Why's to get to root cause for the works to the steps not being done this year. Sad, isn't it.

The initial test results of the water on the bank did indicate it was Mains water. Due to the presence of Tri Halomethanes, a reaction between chlorine and organic matter indicating that the source water was chlorinated. Chlorine on its' own being unstable and breaks down, therefore can't be used as an indicator.

I have the data here.

Great shame that the testing stopped after this. Article in the Advertiser states "despite exhaustive tests it is still not clear.....". In my old laboratory this would never have been described as exhaustive tests. 

Trouble is it is all now too late to do anything with Scottish Water. Up side is that all the supply pipes in Cemetery Road were upgraded around 3 years ago, and all testing for any leakages has drawn a blank. So unless there is some other supply pipe that none of us know about, it's pretty difficult to find the source of this water.
It's interesting (well it is to me) to know why the supply pipes were upgraded 3 years ago. Shortly after the local tennis club installed a sprinkler system there was a reduction in water pressure. SW put a monitor on our supply and found it was dangerously low at times, basically in time with the sprinkler tank filling up. This created the need to upgrade the pipes to all in Cemetery Road. That was interesting for about 6 months whilst SW tried to claim it was a private supply. Imagine the costs (to all - including the tennis club). Fortunately we were able to prove SW had serviced the supplies here with hard evidence, and they changed their mind about it being a private supply. 

It's also interesting to know that approval of the planning application for the sprinkler system was completed before SW replied to their consultation. There should have been an impact assessment before approval according to their post decision correspondence. But that would have put the target date for planning approval out of compliance. So the planning officer approved w/o the SW consultation. Lucky tennis club.

Back to the steps. What would you do if you were the council.Take the risk whilst the water runs? 

I wouldn't. Hence it is my best advice that another route and new bridge is the only answer. That would be great if it is possible. We will be left with all the problems on the bank adjacent to us, but perhaps Mother Nature will sort it out. I really can't see any alternative given the amount of money that has already poured into stabilising the bank and the continued need for funds to make sure the land doesn't slip any farther. 

My e mail correspondence from 2017 re the water testing for background reading. It was particularly amusing to note that the councils' correspondence on this issue was titled Dalkeith Water Tower.
Why don't you take a shot at the 5 why's for this - Why did MC title the correspondence Dalkeith Water Tower?

Good, isn't it. You don't really need to do it 5 times for this one :-)

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