Tackling Pollution in the Esk Rivers

Sadly pollution has been a recurring feature of the Esk Rivers for many years. In recent times discharge of contaminated water from old mine workings is a big problem.

In particular discharge from Junkies Adit in Dalkeith, which has links to the now closed Bilston Glen mines, is having significant impact on the health of the river.

The background to, and what is being done and planned to monitor and resolve, the problems was covered in a talk to the Esk Valley Trust on 24 June 2021.

A recording of this talk can be seen:

The talk was given by Dr Anna Griffin of the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA), and her colleagues Paul Butler, SEPA Principal Hydrogeologist and Mining Sector Lead and Annette Lardeur, Principal Project Deliver Manager from the Coal Authority.

Anna has a background in ecological restoration and catchment working and has been part of a national team which co-ordinates the river basin planning process in Scotland since 2005. She develops river restoration projects and work to improve fish access on the catchment scale in partnership with others.

Paul has worked as a hydrogeologist for 30 years and has been involved in a range of coal and metal mining issues. As SEPA’s Mining Sector Lead, he is committed to working with partners to reduce the impacts of mining. He also hopes that the heat contained in the water in former mines of the Central Belt can play a key role in meeting Scotland’s future energy demands.

Annette has a civil engineering background with experience in renewable energy, river engineering/flood defence, mine water treatment and urban regeneration and has been with the Coal Authority since 2017, leading a team to deliver major new interventions and refurbish assets to prevent and alleviate the pollution from historic mine water treatment, both from legacy of coal mining and abandoned metal mines.

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