Scottish Water continues to invest in improving urban waters in Edinburgh

04 October 2023
A river with trees and a heron

Improving the Water of Leith

The investment will help to improve the environment around the Water of Leith

Major works to upgrade the sewer network around the Water of Leith will start in 2024

As part of its ongoing investment across the capital, Scottish Water is planning major works designed to help improve the water quality of the Water of Leith, one of Edinburgh's most iconic rivers.

The Water of Leith outfalls have been identified by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) as requiring improvements to help protect the environment. The outfalls are overflow pipes that discharge excess storm water into the river during heavy rainfall, to prevent flooding homes and businesses.

The upgrades require the installation of mechanical screens on the overflow pipes, designed to prevent objects greater than 6mm (such as wipes and sanitary products) overflowing into the Water of Leith during storm events. To install the screens, Scottish Water will have to construct new underground chambers and pipework. At some locations, there is also a requirement for small kiosks to house the electrical controls panel. Scottish Water also needs to abandon existing unsuitable outfalls.

Site investigations in Gorgie Road to start in October

Before the main works can start in early 2024, Scottish Water will carry out site investigations on Gorgie Road. These works will start week commencing 9 October and last for approximately three weeks. This will involve drilling boreholes and trial pits to assess the ground conditions , check the existing infrastructure and identify other utilities.

To ensure the safety of the workers and the public there will be traffic management in place for the duration.

There will be a 2-lane closure at the function with Ford’s Road and Robb’s Loan.

Local bus stops within the area of these works will be suspended for the duration. 

Scottish Water appreciates that the works will cause disruption to the local communities and businesses.

Google map of street in Edinburgh

Gorgie Road lane closures

The red line show where the 2 lane closure will be.

Scott Fraser, Corporate Affairs Manager at Scottish Water, said: “We would like to thank customers for their patience and understanding while we carry out this this important investment for Edinburgh. The Water of Leith, Edinburgh’s hidden natural asset, is a vital watercourse and this work is being carried out to improve the water quality and environment in the area.

“This investment continues to build on the great progress made in previous years where we have upgraded 14 CSOs in the upper reaches of the river in Balerno and Colinton.”
Mr Fraser added: “Working closely with the communities we will be impacting with these works is at the heart of what we do and we have been liaising with local stakeholders and community groups to ensure that we can address any concerns that they may have and minimise any disruption that may be caused.”

These works are part of Scottish Water’s plan to upgrade another 24 CSOs along the Water of Leith in addition to those which have already been upgraded. Many of these assets are in hard to access, urban areas and the design of these solutions will need to take account of their location as well as looking to minimise carbon costs as part of Scottish Water’s Net Zero drive.

The need for this investment is also a good reminder that everyone has a part to play in protecting and enhancing the quality of Scotland’s coasts and rivers. That’s why our Nature Calls campaign, is encouraging people never to flush wipes or other unflushable items down the toilet.

These projects are being delivered by Scottish Water’s alliance partner Caledonia Water Alliance and are expected to be completed by 2025.