Better water in pipeline after £30m upgrade, Borderers being promised

Better-quality tap water is in the pipeline for Borderers now a £30m upgrade of the region’s supply network is getting closer to completion, Scottish Water is promising.

By Darin Hutson
Thursday, 23rd January 2020, 4:54 pm
New water pipes being fitted near Selkirk.
New water pipes being fitted near Selkirk.

That work will deliver improved treatment processes, environmental benefits and a more reliable supply to 20,000 homes and businesses in towns and villages including Selkirk, Galashiels, Melrose, Lauder, Fountainhall and Newton, it says.

The utility company is now over two-thirds of the way through laying a new seven-mile pipeline linking Selkirk and Galashiels, necessitating long-running roadworks to the south of the former and full closure of the A7 there this weekend, beginning tomorrow, January 25.

It’s also about to start installing a tank able to hold almost five Olympic-sized swimming pools’ worth of water alongside the A7 near Selkirk.

Those infrastructure improvements are being accompanied by the introduction of a new water treatment process called chloramination.

It consists of adding ammonia to chlorine after the disinfection process so it remains effective longer than just using chlorine on its own.

A Scottish Water spokesperson explained: “The chlorine taste of water that is chloraminated is usually less noticeable to consumers than chlorine alone.

“Chlorine has been used for many years to keep water safe after it leaves water treatment works and travels along the network of pipes on its way to homes and businesses.

“The chloramination process lasts longer in the pipe distribution system than using chlorine on its own, so there is no need to add further chlorine along the network of pipes, meaning levels of chlorine in the water are reduced.

“Chloramination has been used in the water industry throughout the UK for many years as a reliable and effective way to disinfect water to ensure it is safe to drink.”

Customers in Selkirk, Melrose, Lauder and parts of Galashiels served by the Howden water treatment works will have their water supplies switched over to that new process by the end of next month, and those in the west of Galashiels and Fountainhall will follow suit later in the year.

Scottish Water has written to affected customers letting them know that that change is about to take place and warning owners of tropical fish that they will need to use a different product to dechlorinate the water they keep them in. Scott Fraser, the company’s communities manager, said: “We are starting the chloramination process in the Borders to ensure our customers continue to receive a reliable supply of high-quality drinking water.

“Chloramination is a tried and tested way of delivering this already used in the supply to more than a quarter of our customers across Scotland.

“Customers will receive postcards about the new process and are being told they may notice a reduction or change in any taste or smell in their tap water when the new treatment process is in place, but otherwise there should be no change.”

The project, announced in March last year, also includes fitting new filters at the Howden treatment works and shutting down the Manse treatment works west of Galashiels and converting them into service reservoir.