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Hebrides News


Rather than spend £35,000 to fix broken sewer pipes, Scottish Water went for a cheaper option Stornoway Sheriff Court has been told.


But the effluent poisoned a herd of cows it is claimed and now the utility firm is being sued for over £300,000.


Cattle at Stoneyfield Farm near Stornoway suffered arsenic poisoning after drinking water polluted from sewage the court was told.


Fourteen cattle died while 156 other animals were badly affected maintains farmer Iain Scott who is suing for £332,000.


The civil court case at Stornoway Sheriff Court heard claims their deaths were caused by arsenic poisoning caused by sewage spills on nearby land which seeped through to his fields.


Scottish Water challenges the claims and says the sum sought is excessive.


The utility insists the cattle did not display symptoms of arsenic poisoning.


The farmer says he was unaware of the overflowing sewage when a calf died in summer 2008.

The following year Scottish Water fenced off the polluted land and attended to reports over continuing discharges on many occasions until water samples came back clear in 2011.


In September 2010, an inspector from environmental agency SEPA reported “extensive pollution” from raw sewage and spotted discharges onto the ground and field drains, the court was told.


SEPA inform the utility firm of risks to animals.


That same month Scottish Water found no issues and considered the discharged was caused by a spell of heavy rain.


Rather than spend £35,000 to rectify the recurring problem Scottish Water opted for a cheaper and more extensive method of digging at known blockages and attempting to make a connection by pipe bursting, the court was told.


The case in front of Sheriff David Sutherland continues.


Scottish Water “failed to fix” effluent leak which allegedly harmed cows, court is told

1 December 2017

Iain Scott