£11m sewage works improvements to enhance Tweed quality

AN £11million programme of works to improve the natural environment of the River Tweed has been unveiled this week by Scottish Water, writes Andrew Keddie.

The project will see the construction and improvement of six waste water treatment works in a joint venture with Solutions, one of the world’s leading construction and engineering companies.

At Galashiels, works throughout the existing facility at Galafoot, near the confluence of Tweed and Gala Water, will include a new tank, centrifuges and major refurbishment of equipment such as inlet screens, grit removal system, primary/final tank bridges and filter arms. Much of the outdated equipment will be modernised to improve its operation and efficiency. The work, already under way, will, according to Scottish Water, be completed in the summer of 2012.

A similar programme of improvements will begin this summer at Hawick’s Mansfield Road site, delivering “tangible benefits” to the River Teviot which joins the Tweed at Kelso. The plant will be modernised and new treatment equipment installed.

Work will start soon at Swinton in Berwickshire, improving the Leet Water tributary, with the replacement of equipment which is around 30 years old. A new pumping station and dosing facility will also be included.

The Gala Water will see improvements through investment at the Stow sewage works with the refurbishment of the reed bed system and installation of new pumping equipment. This project is scheduled for completion this autumn.

And at Clovenfords the start of construction on a new waste water treatment works is scheduled for later this year. The project will not only directly improve the quality of the Tweed, but will also provide capacity within the local network for the growth in housing which has been planned within this community. The new facility will replace an existing septic tank system which has concerned residents alongside the Caddon Water.

The investment was welcomed by local MP Michael Moore.

“The Tweed and its tributaries are home to many species of fish and other wildlife and I welcome this investment by Scottish Water which will protect the river system for the future,” said Mr Moore.

“Local communities depend on the Tweed for fishing, tourism and farming, and this work will maintain a unique natural environment and ensure that its waters remain clean and wildlife friendly.”

Bill Elliot, Scottish Water’s regional community manager for the Borders said future generations will benefit from this significant programme of investment.

Sandi Hellowell, regional director for VisitScotland, stressed the importance of the Tweed to the Borders economy.

“The Tweed plays a crucial part in attracting visitors to the Scottish Borders, particularly for walkers, cyclists and, of course, fishing enthusiasts, with the water quality a key factor,” said Ms Hellowell.

And Nick Yonge, clerk to the River Tweed Commission agreed. “Fishing on the Tweed relies on high water quality in order to make the significant contribution to the Scottish Borders economy of £18 million and almost 500 full time job equivalents,” he told us.