A leaking underground pipe at the Comhairle’s Marybank Depot has been identified as the source of the oil pollution at the Glen River, Stornoway, and will lead to enforcement action being taken by the Scottish Environment Protection
The Glen River, which runs through the Lews Castle Grounds in Stornoway, has been blighted with a clear oil sheen in recent weeks leading to a surge in calls to SEPA by concerned members of the public.
Now, following an investigation into the incident, SEPA have confirmed the source as the council depot.
A spokesperson from the SEPA said: “SEPA has worked very closely with the Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (CnES) since we were made aware of the incident.
“We are satisfied that the CnES have made every effort to contain and recover as much of the lost oil as possible.
“The incident has generated a lot of public interest due to the temporary reduced amenity of the Glen Burn (oily sheen and strong odour present), but there has been no evidence of fish kill or invertebrate life kill in the affected waters and therefore SEPA is of the view that there has been no significant adverse environmental effect.
“SEPA intends to take enforcement action against the CnES that is deemed appropriate to the severity of this incident.”
They continue: “The purpose of the oil interceptor, and any oil interceptor for that matter, is to recover oil from surface waters diverted to it e.g. draining from a hard standing or similar impermeable surface.
“An oil interceptor cannot recover oil from groundwater.
“The spill at the CnES Depot Site was as a result of a leak in an underground pipe and the oil was subsequently lost into the groundwater.
“An oil interceptor would therefore not be expected to recover oil from a spill of this nature.
“As a result of this incident SEPA (not the CnES) will be carrying out an audit of the site, to ensure all oil storage meets current Regulation standards and best practice, to advise if improvements are necessary.”
SEPA were initially notified of a pollution concern at the river on January 25 with officers attending the same day.
A spokesperson for Comhairle nan Eilean Siar confirmed: “The spill at the CnES Depot Site was as a result of a leak in an underground pipe.
“The Comhairle has fully replaced the pipe and has worked closely with SEPA on containment and clean-up of the spillage and to make all required improvements at the site in order to prevent any further oil from entering the river.”
SEPA would like to remind members of the public to contact their Pollution Hotline on 0800 80 70 60 if they become aware of any further pollution in the Glen River, or to report any other potential pollution events.
Pictured are bales of hay in the river being used to clean up the pollution.