Kelso pong problems remain, say residents

Scottish Water says minimising odour is always a priority at Kelso sewage works
Scottish Water says minimising odour is always a priority at Kelso sewage works

“Is Kelso Scotland’s smelliest Borders town? I’m sure that’s not a name the Kelso Chamber of Trade or tourism operators would want.”

That was the question posed by a member of the public this week.

Campaigner Kenneth Ross, of Riverside Drive, has complained to Scottish Water about odour from the town’s sewage works since he moved to Kelso five years ago.

“On a scale of one-to-10 it’s a seven. It’s a nuisance, it’s not changing my life, but the annoying thing is we could probably find a solution if we could get Scottish Water to agree it’s an issue.” he said.

The retired railway signalman manager hopes to persuade the public body to include work on the treatment plant in its 2015 budget.

He has lodged a Freedom of Information (FOI) inquiry with Scottish Water to check how many complaints it receives because he fears some are not being logged.

He is concerned Scottish Water wants to shut down a watchdog stakeholders’ group, and is dismayed an enforcement order on the water company to find a solution has been lifted, adding the council was going to monitor the situation in the six months following.

“We are already half-way through that and we haven’t even had a stakeholder meeting,” he said.

He now wants Kelso community councillors to survey residents on odour and the number of complaints.

Local MSP John Lamont said: “A number of residents are still being adversely affected, so it is important that a forum (the stakeholders’ group) continues to exist to allow these concerns to be heard and addressed.

“It is also important that the council remains engaged with this so that the officials can encourage Scottish Water to take the necessary action to improve the situation.” 
A Scottish Water spokesman said: “Minimising odour is always a priority for our waste water teams. While the requirements of the enforcement notice served by the council have been complied with, this has no impact on our determination to continue investigating and taking all customer contacts related to the works at Kelso seriously,

“All contacts from customers are logged. We have no plans to disband the stakeholder group which we have found to be useful and constructive.”