7th July 2017

The Filling Station Royal Mile Edinburgh

This page will be updated soon with details of the disgraceful inaction and apathy of The Filling Station and The Restaurant Group PLC.

A brief synopsis

The Filling Station High Street Edinburgh’s drain blocked.

Their raw sewage cascaded downhill and collected in a pool below my daughter’s window.

I told them about it.

They did nothing for 72 hours.

I estimate that at least 3 or 4 metric tonnes of waste water has been stagnating there for the last 2 days.

If you want to link to this website I would be most grateful indeed.

The Details of The Filling Station Sewage Debacle

These are largely transcribed from the Facebook post that went a little viral with help from the disgusted citizens of Edinburgh and parents who couldn’t understand why a restaurant group would leave RAW HUMAN SEWAGE for days under a 6 year old’s bedroom window.

The advantage of this being largely transcribed is that the timeline of events is accurate.

The disadvantage is in readability, but frankly, it’s a distressing story anyway. It’s also verbose, so I will summarise it at some point.

Tuesday 4th July ~ 17:00

The sewage leak was first spotted.

The white matter in this photo is toilet paper.

At this point the priority was to get the leak stopped.

Edinburgh City Council don’t have any information in their phone system about how to deal with a sewage spill, so it had to wait until Wednesday morning.

Wednesday 5th July ~ 19:00

After a morning of many calls trying to navigate through the Edinburgh City Council phone system eventually I was told that sewage was the responsibility of Scottish Water. Once I reached them, Scottish Water sent a team to investigate.

They determined that the drain is not theirs, but a private one. The location of it and volume of sewage spewing from it meant it was the Filling Station’s. The responsibility for cleaning up the spillage theirs.

The Scottish Water workers got the duty manager from the Filling Station and showed him where the drain was before sticking a log in the top of the pipe to stop anything falling into it and blocking it anew.

*NOTE: This is where the clock starts ticking for the Filling Station – at this point they know about their obligation to clean up the tonnes of spilled effluent.

Thursday 6th July ~ 11:00

My neighbour and I visited the Filling Station to speak with the general manager.

He was under the impression that we were there about a different issue the Filling Station had been having with their drains.

We told him no, that it was about the tonnes of raw human sewage pooled under my daughter’s bedroom window.

I gave the manager the phone number for Dirty Works Clearances who are equipped to deal with such a disaster and emphasised that we expected a speedy cleanup.

Thursday 6th July ~ 12:46

The general manager of The Filling Station sent me a text message to say he’d have an update soon.

Thursday 6th July ~ 14:00

The general manager of The Filling Station called me to say it was in hand and would be dealt with.

Nothing happened, nor did I get any further update until:

Friday 7th July ~ 11:18

The general manager of The Filling Station sent me a text message to say “A company called specialist hygiene will be out ASAP”

Nobody arrived, however, the next call came at:

Friday 7th July ~ 12:59

The general manager of The Filling Station called me to say that the lady was on her way and would be there presently.

Friday 7th July ~ 16:12

I asked the general manager of The Filling Station where the lady was – after all, this was now the best part of 5 hours since I’d been told “specialist hygiene will be out ASAP” and 5 hours didn’t feel like they were ASAP at all. Not least when there is a company, in Edinburgh, whose phone number I had given The Filling Station a full 29 hours earlier.

“she’s still on route andrew” [sic] was what I was told.

The reason for it taking her so long to get there?

“She is driving from Dunbar”

Dunbar to EH1 is a 47 minute drive, according to Google and taking the traffic at the time into consideration.

Friday 7th July ~ 16:24

I wrote reviews of The Restaurant Group and The Filling Station on various review sites.

Friday 7th July ~ 16:55

I posted the story on The Filling Station’s Facebook Page.

I reached out to many influential people and groups about this disgrace and the apathy of The Filling Station and The Restaurant Group PLC in cleaning up this mess.

The post started to gain attention.

Friday 7th July ~ 18:24

I was called by the Operations Manager of The Restaurant Group PLC (title according to his LinkedIn profile) and was assured that the general manager had spoken with him immediately after my neighbour and I had gone in to The Filling Station the day before. The Operations Manager had at that point (around noon the day before, so approx. 30 hours previously) instructed Rentokil to attend.

Our call lasted 19 minutes.

Toward the end of the call, 2 Rentokil workers actually arrived on site for the first time. They were very professional and polite too. They told me that Rentokil have a guaranteed 4 hour response time all over Scotland.

It seems unbelievable to me that a company with a reputation as good as Rentokil’s would fail to meet a 4 hour response time guarantee, by more than a whole day, in central Edinburgh, when they have branches in Edinburgh itself, Lanark and Glasgow.

But this is what was claimed.

I asked the Operations Manager if he wanted to revise his claim of having engaged Rentokil on the Thursday at around noon but got no reply.

So the claim stands that Rentokil took 30 hours to attend when they guarantee a 4 hour response time.

Friday 7th July ~ 19:37

The Facebook post is really taking off now.

It is 48 hours since The Filling Station have been aware of the sewage from their drain that has collected in the channel behind my 6 year old daughter’s bedroom.

Many little girls dream of castles, those castles don’t have poop moats.

Managing Director of The Restaurant Group PLC (title according to his LinkedIn profile) calls me.

Our call lasts 55 minutes. I am incandescent with anger at the apathy of The Filling Station and The Restaurant Group PLC at dealing with their sewage.

During this almost hour I repeatedly asked the MD why his company had waited 48 hours before lifting a finger to clean their sewage.

His response to that was:

“I am not sure it is 48 hours”
It is embarrassing that the MD of a PLC doesn’t know that Wednesday evening until Friday evening is 48 hours, but I spelt that out to him and repeated the question, at a guess 40 to 50 times and got the same reply.

To my shame, and for the only time during this debacle, I lost my temper and told the Managing Director that he was a poor father as he had chosen to spend his Friday evening on the phone to me instead of spending it with his children. For that I am ashamed.

He reassured me that there would be a tanker on site that evening to suck up the sewage.

The MD told me that he had instructed Rentokil to work 24 hour until it is cleaned up.

I told him that it completely unacceptable as my daughter now also won’t be able to sleep while halogen lights are burning all night?

Also, I smelt a rat (the rats are bound to be here soon thanks to the sewage) so I asked the two guys from Rentokil if they had been instructed to do this, while still on the phone with the “MD” They confirmed they had not.

All in all, these people are prepared to say ANYTHING now to try and placate me. Even blatant lies. Even blatant lies which can be verified as such in seconds.

The Managing Director also said to me that The Filling Station has been in Edinburgh for over 10 years, that they are socially responsible and take their role in the community seriously. More on this further down, folks. Spoiler alert; it’s demonstrably the opposite of how they conduct themselves.

Friday 7th July ~ 21:00

I am told by the Rentokil workers that the company which had been tasked with coming to vacuum up the 100s of gallons of RAW EFFLUENT have refused to attend because of “historical issues” with the Filling Station.

So far, this has cost me around 18 hours of my time over and above the health concerns from the sewage and the obvious distress of this.

The Restaurant Group PLC and their subsidiaries however evidently and demonstrably “don’t give a shit” (I think I’m allowed to use puns by now?)

At this point I calculated that this campaign to get The Filling Station to meet up to their obligations had cost me around 18 hours of my time.

Obviously, the distress and health concerns it had caused were more present in my mind than the time it had taken me, but how do you quantify distress?

Friday 7th July ~ 22:50

I had no further update from either The Filling Station, or The Restaurant Group PLC about when the sewage would be cleared.

I only had the unofficial information from the Rentokil workers that there would be no removal of the 1,000s of litres of human effluent that night.

Saturday 8th July ~ 10:52

I received a text from the General Manager at the Filling Station asking me if he could gain access to my stairwell please?

I answered asking “For what purpose?”

He then called me at 10:55 and said it was to see the RAW SEWAGE for himself.

This is the first time that anyone from The Filling Station has come to do so.

The Filling Station is a 3 minute walk door to door.

Then I was asked if the tanker that was coming could put their pipe through my stairwell to suck out the RAW SEWAGE.

Yes, that’s right. They wanted to take their RAW SEWAGE through my house in order to remove it from my back garden.

Obviously I declined.

The tanker with which The Fillling Station wanted to suck their sewage through my house with.

The pipes they wanted to drag through my house to suck sewage up with weren’t anything that you’d want in your house, I’m sure you’ll agree:

Close up of the pipe on the side of the tanker – be glad you can’t smell through your screen!

The tanker is from a company which operates from East Kilbride, which is approximately an hour’s drive from EH1 (again according to Google and taking traffic into account). Neither The Filling Station, nor The Restaurant Group PLC bothered to check if it would be ok to take a “poopy pipe” through my house before the tanker arrived.

Meanwhile, the other drain issue was getting dealt with – they were erecting scaffolding to tackle that.

Unable to clean up their sewage, but able to put up scaffolding for a different issue.

Saturday 8th July ~ 13:00

The Restaurant Group’s Operations Manager turned up at my door with the General Manager.

I insisted on speaking outside as there would be plenty witnesses to everything I said.

Anyone who knows me knows my voice is pretty loud at the best of times. In fact, I never use a microphone when I do talks at conferences and seminars etc – you could say my voice carries.

More so when I’m angry.

The Operations Manager wanted to know what they could do to put it right.

I’ve said that their MD is to come and fill his nostrils with the stench and apologise to me in person instead of phoning with platitudes from London.

I also said I’d be invoicing them for all my work on this.

He said we’d speak after they’d cleaned it up to my satisfaction.

[Note it is now a full week since this promise was made and I am yet to hear a thing from ANYONE at The Filling Station or The Restaurant Group PLC about the clean up being to my satisfaction, or for that matter about my invoice.]

They did NOTHING until the post on their Facebook Page started gaining traction.

The Operations Manager was also keen to know who the land at the back of my house belongs to – I explained it was on my deeds. It belongs to the house I live in and is shared between the 6 flats.

More on this further down too.

Saturday 8th July ~ 23:30

76.5 hours after being made aware of having spilt (I estimate around 4-5 cubic metres of) RAW HUMAN SEWAGE into a channel outside a 6 year old’s bedroom window, they eventually manage to suck up the effluent from the channel.

This operation was conducted by workers wearing head torches and lasted around 2 hours.

They sucked out the lighter coloured sludge, but didn’t clean the bottom of the ditch thoroughly.

Sunday 9th July ~ 10:00

One of the Rentokil guys was back spraying a fog over the vegetation. He explained it was called “Sani7”. I cannot find any documentation for “Sani7” online so far.

Rentokil worker spraying “Sani7” on the vegetation above the ditch / channel.

Sunday 9th July ~ 21:45

I have heard NOTHING from The Filling Station or The Restaurant Group for about 33 hours now.

Not since Saturday 8th July 13:00 when the Operations Manager came to speak to me – when he promised to have it cleaned to my satisfaction.

It appears that having a weekend is important to The Restaurant Group’s Operations Manager and Managing Director. Sadly, they don’t care about the quality of my daughter’s weekend, or mine, or even the public health.

At this point I am completely drained (unlike the RAW SEWAGE) after a work marathon that has been ongoing since Wednesday.

This has easily been the least enjoyable campaign I have ever had to run and the worst part is that even now I know it is not finished.

I am now around 3 days behind on client work, have lost the best part of an entire weekend due to this SHIT.

Sunday 9th July – Tuesday 11th July

I took my daughter to her grandparents for a couple of days to let her get spoiled a bit and have a nicer environment.

Still no communication from anyone at The Filling Station, or The Restaurant Group PLC.

Wednesday 12th July ~ 09:20

There is a man in the ditch / channel wearing protective clothing and wielding a power hose. I have no idea what he is spraying as I have STILL not heard a peep from either The Filling Station, or The Restaurant Group PLC.

Spraying from the dirty end of the ditch toward the clean end… makes sense.

As well as spraying muck UP the ditch / channel, he has removed a drain cover and is spraying foliage and debris into a drain…

Surely this is going to cause THIS drain to block too?


Wednesday 12th July ~ 23:57

3 of my neighbours called me to ask if I can hear anyone climbing on the scaffolding, as they had just heard this but I would get a better view.

By the time I get to my daughter’s window there is nobody there.

The previous night they had also heard person or persons unknown on the scaffolding at around 02:00.

A brief history of “the garden”

In 2010, one of my neighbours and I cleaned the back area, we removed 100s of syringes and other drug paraphernalia, many cubic metres of ivy and other foliage that had over grown the area.

We cleaned and sanitised the area.

We built a deck to sit out on.

We made it our little oasis in the middle of EH1.

The “garden” as we managed to make it.

When we noticed over time that it was beginning to be frequented by drug takers again we very quickly erected a wooden gate to stop people getting in.

We wrote our phone numbers and door / buzzer numbers on it so that should anyone require legitimate access (such as The Filling Station for maintenance) they could get in touch and we could unlock the gate and slide it out the way for them.

In 2011 / 2012 The Filling Station suddenly had scaffolding erected in our “garden” – they had demolished our gate to erect it.

So much for The Filling Station being great neighbours.

Since then we’ve had to chase drug takers out of the back, another neighbour has twice been broken into from scaffolding that The Filling Station have had against their back wall.

So much for The Filling Station being great neighbours.

And the tonnes of raw human sewage that broke the camel’s back? Well, it’s the story above ladies and gentlemen.

So much for The Filling Station being great neighbours.

Saturday 15th July ~ 16:10

I have now transcribed the whole story from the Facebook Page post to this website.

I have not heard a peep from anyone at The Filling Station, or The Restaurant Group PLC since Saturday 8th July at 13:00 despite the promise of:

Cleaning the sewage to my satisfaction and then speaking about my invoice for the work I have had to do to make this happen.

A simple map

Map showing all the pertinent details of the saga.