E.coli scare action plan

AN ACTION plan has been put in place to prevent a repeat of last week’s E.coli scare at a Mayfield primary school.

As reported in the Advertiser, many parents kept their children off school after it emerged that contaminated water had flooded into Lawfield Primary’s playground.

But, while the majority of youngsters were said to be back in class this week, some locals still have flooding concerns.

A meeting was held on Friday to find a “permanent solution” to flooding from neighbouring Lawfield Farm.

The farm manager agreed to make a 12-metre strip of land parallel to the school fence un-farmed.

Midlothian Council will contact Scottish Water to find out if a new connection into the roads drainage system can be made, and the local authority also promised to clear the gulleys on Lawfield Road if required.

Councillor Lisa Beattie (SNP), cabinet member for education, was pleased with the outcome: “The meeting was very productive and I’m confident the measures will not only address the problem in the short term – before we have any more heavy rain – but they will also find a permanent solution to what is a very worrying issue.”

Part of Lawfield Primary School’s playground has been cordoned off since October 19 after water from the farm was found to be contaminated with bacteria including E.coli.

Extra hygiene measures were put in place, including rigorous hand-washing and changing into indoor shoes. Special anti-bacterial cleaning agents are also being used to clean inside the school daily.

Sharon Melrose, who lives on Lawfield Road, said she had some serious problems with flood water rushing through her garden, with Melville Homes recently digging a trench to stem the flow.

She said: “The trench doesn’t stop the water coming in, it just stops it flooding down the front steps. It’s quite bad when it rains, it runs past like a stream.

“It has caused damage to my garden, but it’s more the inconvenience it has caused. And I am more concerned about the foundations.

“The first time it happened was about two years ago when we had the really bad snowfall and it flooded very quickly. I put that down to severe weather and wasn’t too concerned.

“Melville just told us to keep an eye on it but it happened a few times last year and this, so I have been on to them. When it’s only drizzle it’s OK, but when it’s really heavy [rain] it only takes a couple of hours and then the water is running by.”

Melville Housing Association said: “We have taken measures to divert water, as much as we can.

“The source of the flooding, however, is the primary school site and, until drainage issues there are resolved, it is likely to keep on occurring.

“We have been in touch with the council to discuss the actions being taken to address this and, like all other homeowners in the area, are keen to see the situation resolved.”