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Raw sewage leaking into Perth city centre alleyway sparks health fears

Sewage is leaking at Ropemakers Close in Perth City Centre.
Sewage is leaking at Ropemakers Close in Perth City Centre.

Raw sewage has closed off a “disgusting and unsanitary” alleyway in Perth city centre.

Ropemakers Close, just off South Street, has been blocked after raw sewage was found leaking on to the pavement.

The route is frequently used as a shortcut to the North Canal Street car park.

Signs at the area describe the issue as an “environmental health risk”, warning people not to enter.


Scottish Water say a defect in the sewer underground – found after clearing a blockage –  is to blame.

People living in flats above and nearby the close have described the area as “foul” and “unsanitary”, saying this is not the first time it has experienced issues with sewage.

Repairs are due to be carried out in the coming days and traffic management measures will be in place on South Street.

Ropemakers Close will re-open next week.

Jane Adams, 27, said: “It’s foul, that lane has always had issues with sewage and people urinating there.

“It needs to stop.

“Something really needs to be done about it. It’s about time the council sorts out both problems because it’s making life pretty unpleasant for us living in the flats.”

‘Constantly smells’

Andrew Davidson, 32, said: “I’ve lived in Perth most of my life and that lane has always been an issue.

“It’s really disgusting and unsanitary. It constantly smells awful and it’s just really grim. I absolutely hate it.”

Jean Jameson, 67, said: “This lane has always had problems,

“I am not even shocked about this and people complaining about sewage, this isn’t a new issue and needs to be sorted.

“People constantly urinate in the alley too, it is always smelling horrendous.”

Water repairs

A Perth and Kinross Council spokesperson said: “An officer from our environmental health team has visited to assess the site and identified the sewage leak.

“The affected area has been cordoned off to the public whilst repairs are carried out by Scottish Water and the property owners over the next couple of days.

“The private properties involved have been notified.”

Defect two metres below ground

A spokesperson for Scottish Water said the issue affects a council-owned area.

They said: “After being contacted by Perth and Kinross Council about problems affecting the foul drains from a property on Ropemakers Close, our local team attended to investigate.

“While they were able to clear a blockage in the public sewer and restore flow, they identified a defect in the sewer at a depth of around two metres below ground which needs to be repaired to resolve the situation.

“We are working closely with the council to enable this work to go ahead as quickly as possible.

“The council is carrying out some remedial work today on the building’s private drains following its earlier investigations.”

Specialist contractor

The spokesperson added: “Our specialist contractor has been on site to make preparations today and will be working from tomorrow morning to carry out a challenging repair, which due to the location will involve excavation by hand, with localised traffic management measures in place on South Street.

“We would like to apologise to customers and users of the close for the inconvenience caused by this issue and the essential repair work that is needed to resolve it.

“Our team on site will do all they can to keep disturbance to a minimum until the repair is complete and the close can be re-opened.”

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