INVESTIGATIONS are ongoing into how sewage debris has entered the River Devon at Alva, depositing material along the banks following floods earlier this year.

Material such as toilet wipes were left on trees for a mile along the banks after being been discovered by locals at the end of March and beginning of April.

A clean-up operation was then started by Scottish Water following reports, but contractors' chainsaws went silent when the works were halted over fears for wildlife.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (Sepa) has this week confirmed to the Advertiser that it is investigating how sewage debris has entered the river.

Since the damage was reported in April, Councillor Dave Clark has been attempting to bring about a virtual meeting with the two organisations.

Scottish Water told the Advertiser this week that "Sepa is in the process of arranging this".

Meanwhile, Cllr Clark highlighted worries for wildlife and explained that sewage had also poured out of a manhole not far from the local sewage treatment works – around 20 yards from housing.

He was concerned to find contractors cutting down trees in the clean-up operation.

Cllr Clark said: "Scottish Water have a lot of questions to answer.

"Sewage has been pouring out 20 yards from houses. Sewage has been pouring out into the rivers and then, in an attempt to hide it, they destroy the local ecosystems.

"Meanwhile, Sepa have the question to answer: 'Where were you when the public needed you?'."

A spokeswoman for Scottish Water denied there would be a capacity issue at the Alva Waste Water Treatment Works.

She confirmed the discharge of sewage water did take place, following heavy rainfall in February.

She added: "This led to a continuous high volume of flows in the combined drainage network and an associated increase in combined sewer overflow discharges.

"This exceptional period of rainfall would have had a bearing on the material being deposited on areas such as river banks.

"Scottish Water started a clean-up following this incident when we were told there was nesting wildlife in the area.

"We were requested to return once the nesting period ends later this year and this was agreed by Scottish Water and Sepa."

A spokesman for Sepa said the agency "takes all reports of pollution seriously" and was informed of the debris in early April.

He added: "Sepa informed Scottish Water, who arranged for a clean-up of the debris to be carried out.

"Sepa understands that part way through the clean-up operation, the works were halted due to concerns about the impact it was having on wildlife and will be completed once these concerns have been addressed.

"Investigations are ongoing into the cause of sewage debris entering the river."

Visit with concerns of a potential pollution incident.