Plans to pump sewage into a burn that runs through villagers’ gardens in Newstead has sparked concerns it could lead to health problems.
Scottish Water has submitted a planning application to demolish the existing Newstead sewage plant and construct a pumping station to pump sewage to the Melrose plant.
However, in the event of the Melrose facility ever being at full capacity or any type of failure or blockage, a discharge would be made from the pumping station through the emergency outflow to the nearby Malthouse Burn which runs through Newstead.
The reason for the proposed scheme is due to water capacity issues at Newstead, which Scottish Water needs to resolve.
The pumping station is proposed for a site north-east of Rathlin Cottage in the village’s Dean Road, but some villagers say they only became aware of Scottish Water’s intention when a public notice was spotted in The Southern Reporter.
“The Malthouse Burn has been dry for around six weeks this summer and even when it’s not fully dry, it very frequently lies with only a few inches of stagnant water and does not flow freely,” said one resident. “This means that, potentially, sewage could just lie there with the resultant odours permeating the village and creating potential for rats and disease.
“This burn runs through the gardens of some residents and, in bad weather, frequently floods and water backs up from the Tweed flooding the fields and gardens along the course of the burn.”
And in his objection letter, resident Peter Wood commented: “Newstead is still a charming village and we are proud of it.
“Surely we deserve better treatment than this?”
In response, Bill Elliot, Scottish Water Regional Community Manager, told us: “This planned investment is at a very early stage to improve the waste water network in the area to take the waste water from the village to Melrose to be treated effectively and improve the environment of the area.
“Site investigation work is currently being carried out. Our community liaison and project teams will be contacting residents in the next few months as they progress this project to give further details.
“We are also planning an information drop-in event in the village when our customers can meet with the project team and communication team who will be able to provide details of the project and answer any questions.
“The date will be announced as soon as possible.”