A BATHING water warning has been issued after a faulty main at a pumping station forced the emergency discharge of sewage to the sea at Stevenston.

Scottish Water has been undertaking repairs at Saltcoats Sewage Pumping Station since Wednesday, June 22 due to a fault in a nearby rising main.

The burst was first reported by a member of the public on Sunday, and a reader who contacted the Herald on Monday said that sewage water had leaked onto Auchenharvie Golf Course.

The reader said: "A huge hole has appeared over the last two days on the banking between the slaughterhouse and the sewage works behind Canal Street, Saltcoats.

"Water has been rising up and flooding onto the golf course, the water recedes into the hole and when empty it bubbles up again and flows down to the golf green.

"Workmen have been sporadically checking it but as of yet it remains unfixed, golfers have been asked not to play on this part of the course."

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) updated its bathing water signage at Saltcoats to advise against bathing after the repairs required an emergency discharge to the sea at Stevenston.

SEPA said it is working closely with Scottish Water, North Ayrshire Council and NHS Ayrshire and Arran and will continue to work together to monitor the situation.

A spokesperson for SEPA said: “SEPA is aware of repair work on a sewer within Saltcoats, near the Saltcoats Sewage Pumping Station, and is liaising with Scottish Water.

“To allow the repairs to be carried out, Scottish Water was required to make an emergency, temporary discharge of screened sewage to the sea. SEPA has been informed that repairs have been carried out and the discharge has now stopped.

“SEPA’s electronic bathing water signage will continue to reflect the temporary guidance against paddling or bathing until SEPA is satisfied there is no risk.

“Water quality testing has been carried out and SEPA officers are closely monitoring the situation.”

A Scottish Water spokesperson said: “Scottish Water’s contractor George Leslie Ltd are currently on site at Auchenharvie Golf Course, Saltcoats Road, Stevenston following a burst on a rising main.

"The burst was reported to us by a member of the public on Sunday, June 19 and SEPA were notified as soon as possible.

“The main has since been excavated, the burst isolated and a temporary repair has now been successfully completed. There is currently no sewage discharge to the sea and Scottish Water is continuing to monitor the temporary solution in place.

“Appropriate measures have been put in place to ensure any impact on the local environment is kept to a minimum and tankering is in place. A clean-up of the golf course is also being carried out. We are continuing to liaise with SEPA and key stakeholders.

“Investigations are ongoing to establish the full scope of the permanent repair that is required.”

A spokesperson for North Ayrshire Council said: “North Ayrshire Council’s Environmental Health Team is working with partners SEPA and Scottish Water to manage the effects of this incident.

“We are in contact with local businesses impacted by this fault to offer support and guidance.

“As a precautionary measure SEPA has changed its water bathing guidance and we would ask that people visiting the seafront and beach area of Saltcoats and Stevenston avoid entering the water at this time.”