Council swoops in after sewage leak in Princes Street Gardens

IT is a dirty job, but someone has to do it.

Council staff were called on to tackle a particularly unpleasant clean-up job in Princes Street Gardens because of a problem with the portable toilets brought in for the festive celebrations.

Tourists arrived to find the steps leading from The Mound down to the Winter Wonderland ice rink covered in sewage yesterday morning.

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The area was immediately cordoned off and the problem traced to a blocked drain near the toilets at the Christmas market.

Cleaning teams had to make sure the area was properly disinfected before the steps could be re-opened to the public.

Organisers admitted there had been some “minor” problems with the toilets since the Winter Wonderland opened at the start of December, but insisted the problem had not been serious, and had been dealt with swiftly.

A spokeswoman said: “We have had a few very minor problems since the start of the winter festival, and yesterday staff reported a blocked drain in the portable toilets. We called out a plumber to deal with the problem, which was fixed very quickly, and closed off the affected area for cleaning. We were able to re-open the steps after about 20 minutes.” Drainage in Princes Street Gardens has been a problem in the past, as the huge Victorian underground sewer pipes running beneath the park are connected to properties in Princes Street, and regularly become blocked.

Last year, one witness described seeing an “exploding” sewerage main following torrential rain which saw one of the flows in West Princes Street Gardens erupt “like a geyser” due to the high pressure of water flooding down from Princes Street.

An area of the park was closed off for several days to allow a specialist clean-up team from Scottish Water to disinfect the area. It is not known if rainfall over the new year period had caused the latest problem yesterday.