Water bosses expected to reveal plan to deal with pong at Kelso

editorial image

SCOTTISH Water senior officials are expected to reveal their latest plans for cutting down the amount of bad smells coming from Kelso’s sewage works at a special meeting next week, writes Mark Entwistle.

The problem of unpleasant odours emanating from the plant at certain times is a long-running one and resulted in an enforcement notice being served on Scottish Water in November after a period of extreme nuisance caused by bad odours following a failure at the works.

This notice required Scottish Water to produce an odour improvement plan in accordance with The Sewerage Nuisance (Code of Practice) (Scotland) Order 2006.

A stakeholders meeting is due to take place on Tuesday to discuss progress in dealing with the problems. The stakeholders group was formed by Scottish Water and comprises several of its officials, representatives of the local community, the local MSP and councillors.

The company’s odour improvement plan is required to be approved by Scottish Borders Council before compliance with the notice is deemed to have been achieved.

The plan has not yet been approved as it was decided to delay presenting it to the local authority until after the publication of the findings of an independent report commissioned by Scottish Water.

Asked for a comment ahead of Tuesday’s stakeholder meeting, the organisation would only confirm that Scottish Water Regional Community Manager Bill Elliot and Regional Waste Water Manager Raymond O’Brien will meet with Scottish Borders Council and other stakeholders as part of the routine stakeholder group meetings.

A spokesman added that these meeting are held on a regular basis to discuss any on-going issues at Kelso.

However, local Scottish Borders councillor Tom Weatherston – who will be attending the meeting – says he expects Scottish Water to unveil its improvement plan.

“I’m assuming Scottish Water will be showing us its improvement plan. But the council has to accept the plan as suitable – if it doesn’t, then the enforcement officer will just continue the official notice,” he told TheSouthern this week.

“Up until now the enforcement officer has not been satisfied. So we will see next week what action Scottish Water is proposing to take next.

“This problem has been going on for a long time. On certain days when Scottish Water tankers are moving what they call effluent and weather conditions are right – with a slight breeze – then you get a really unpleasant smell in the town.

“It doesn’t happen every day, but when it does it is not pleasant.”

But although it might still be struggling to get to grips with problems at Kelso, Scottish Water’s latest actions at Innerleithen will be welcomed.

The organisation says its investment of £3.3million at the Innerleithen Water Treatment Works will deliver long-term benefits not only for the local community, but also for the thousands of visitors flocking to Peebleshire every year to enjoy the world-class mountain biking facilities.

Later this month up to 6,000 mountain bike and cycling enthusiasts will make the pilgrimage to the Tweed Valley for the Tweedlove Festival – more information on the festival on p22 and at www.thesouthernreporter.co.uk