Marine Investigation Work at Portobello

01 August 2018
Marine Investigation Work at Portobello

Improving Portobellow Beach

Platform will allow investigation and testing to  help decide how to improve water quality.

A floating platform will be visible from the Capital’s coastline from next week as Scottish Water investigates options to improve bathing water at Portobello and Fisherrow.

From Monday (August 6th) an 18-metre high and 18-wide platform will be on the Firth of Forth approximately one kilometre from the Portobello shoreline.

An eight-strong team of specialist engineers will carry out tests and investigations in the area to help inform options to improve bathing water quality. The team will be carrying out ground investigation works including drilling boreholes into the sea bed.

The 215-tonne platform is due to be on site for around five weeks. Staff will be transported to and from the site in a support vessel. The team will work during the week and at weekends between 8am and 6pm.

Mark Dickson, Director of Capital Investment at Scottish Water, said: “Scottish Water is committed to helping improve the bathing water quality at Portobello and Fisherrow. This essential site investigation work will help us determine the best option to do this.

“We appreciate Portobello Beach is a hugely popular area, especially during the summer months. This work is being carried out at this time as the sea condition is likely to be the most favourable for the essential tests we need to carry out ahead of any investment.”

“Throughout the project to improve bathing water at these popular beaches we will work closely alongside a range of organisations, including SEPA and local authorities.

“We will ensure people in the area, including residents, businesses and visitors, are kept fully informed and updated on work we are due to carry out.”

Portobello West and Fisherrow both received poor bathing water classifications from SEPA this year and Scottish Water is working with a number of agencies to look at ways to tackle this.

Once the investigation work is complete we will need to allow time for in-depth analysis of the investigation work and for the procurement of a contractor to deliver this project.

The investigation work has been welcomed by environment groups and local councils.

Terry A’Hearn, Chief Executive of the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), said: “Every day SEPA works to protect and enhance Scotland’s stunning environment and we are committed to ensuring all of Scotland’s designated bathing waters meet water quality standards.

“Working with partners, we’re continuing our focus on bathing waters rated as ‘poor’, or at risk of poor water quality events. This project is an important first step to understanding the plans for securing major improvements to bathing water quality in the future at both Portobello bathing waters and also Fisherrow Sands.”

Pete Leonard, Operations Director at Keep Scotland Beautiful said: “We welcome this investigative work by Scottish Water. This ties in closely with our recently launched ‘My Beach, Your Beach’ campaign, which focuses on helping to improve the water quality at these locations and emphasizes our shared responsibility.”

He said everyone had a part to play in cleaning up bathing waters and urged dog walkers to bag and bin dog waste and for people not to feed gulls and always put litter in the bin.

CAS also welcomed the work with the organisation’s Water Policy Team Manager, Gail Walker, saying: ‘Before a decision is taken on how to improve bathing water at Portobello and Fisherrow, it is important all options are understood, therefore we welcome this survey work.”

Both local authorities where the beaches are located have also backed the work. Transport and Environment Convener at City of Edinburgh Council, Councillor Lesley Macinnes, said: “We welcome these investigations into improving the quality of bathing water at Portobello, which will help determine possible solutions for protecting our marine environment. We will continue to work with Scottish Water, along with SEPA and other partners, to look into ways of enhancing the environment for the many people who visit the coastline each year.”

And Derek Oliver, Service Manager for Protective Services at East Lothian Council, said: “We will continue working with partners to build on improvements to bathing water quality at Fisherrow. This welcome investigation work will help our agencies to determine possible options for the future and help us to protect and enhance our local environment.”