WATER chiefs are facing an estimated £1 million repair bill for cracks, missing manhole covers and faulty fire hydrants in the Capital, it was revealed today.
Scottish Water must carry out repairs to 1,989 access points across Edinburgh, some of which were first reported over a year ago.
Some of the faults have become so hazardous to the public that the city council has had to step in to carry out emergency repairs and bill Scottish Water for the work done on their behalf.
Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue Service is also currently waiting for the public sector water firm to fix faulty fire hydrants that crews may have to rely on to face blazes.
According to council sources, the minimum charge for repairing a Toby cover, the smallest access point in use, is around 500.
But it is estimated that it costs several thousand pounds to carry out work on a single manhole cover – which often involves bringing in traffic diversions – meaning the total cost of the repairs could be far higher. One example of the deterioration is the sunken fire hydrant on Semple Street in Fountainbridge. Local residents complained to the council more than two months ago that the cover is badly damaged, and that the road around it is cracked and potholed. In addition, the fire service reported the fault to Scottish Water last month.
After initially disputing whose responsibility it was to repair it, Scottish Water agreed to undertake the work in conjunction with the council and the fire service.
Andrew Devenport, treasurer of Tollcross Community Council, said: "This is just typical of how this kind of thing is handled. Everyone blames someone else."
Scottish Water has now said it will address the 2,000 outstanding repairs.
Mark Dickson, Scottish Water's general manager for customer service said: "Scottish Water is working closely with City of Edinburgh Council to address the issue of stolen and faulty covers.
"Together we are prioritising those covers which could cause particular issue for customers or be of particular inconvenience to motorists and managing their repair and any necessary traffic management."
A spokeswoman for Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue Service said: "When fire crews identify damaged water hydrants they will report this to our operations function who then notify Scottish Water of the need for repairs to be carried out."
A spokesman for the City of Edinburgh Council said: "We are in contact with Scottish Water about this and we are aware that they have works planned."