Increasing concern about bathing water quality in Scotland has led to renewed interest in diffuse sources, as well as the already closely monitored municipal sewage effluents and combined sewer overflows (CSOs) that have been the subject of multi-million pound capital expenditure schemes for several years. Early investigations of diffuse sources focused on rural land uses. This paper is an initial effort to consider the possible significance of urban diffuse sources. A review of the potential for diffuse urban sources includes consideration of sewage pollution in surface water sewers, as well as non-human sources such as pigeon and other bird roosts, and faecal material from pets such as dogs and cats. Portobello beach in Edinburgh is the case study selected, because of earlier work done by Scottish Water and SEPA. The Figgate Burn crosses Edinburgh to discharge onto the beach at Portabello, and pollution sources in its catchment are described. Additional information is reported from Dunfermline, where the sewer network has provided examples of three ways in which sewage pollution can occur in urban streams, and also Scottish examples of measures to control some non-human sources (e.g. SUDS).

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