Water chiefs ‘grasp nettle’ to rid village of its pong

Cll. Gavin Logan at the Cardrona sewage treatment plant which is being upgraded.
Cll. Gavin Logan at the Cardrona sewage treatment plant which is being upgraded.

THE infamous Cardrona pong is set to become a smell of the past after Scottish Water announced this week that work on a £500,000 upgrade of the waste-water treatment works, serving the 300 households of Peeblesshire’s “new settlement”, is under way, writes Andrew Keddie.

“I am absolutely delighted that Scottish Water has finally grasped the nettle after years of pressure from Cardrona residents,” said Councillor Gavin Logan (Tweeddale East).

“In the four years I have been a councillor, I have received many complaints about the smell from the reed-bed sewage plant at the east of the village and close to the River Tweed.

“As a member of the planning committee, I have been successful in having a condition applied to recent housing developments to stop them taking place until the plant was upgraded.

“It’s great news that these long-awaited improvements are now going to take place.”

The inadequacy of the current waste-water treatment facility was recently highlighted by Brian McCrow, chairman of the Cardrona Residents’ Association.

“There are issues with the capacity of the sewage plant,” said Mr McCrow. “Scottish Water has told me it is working at a theoretical capacity of 92 per cent, but cannot comment on the facility’s performance as it has no measuring method. By any standards, 92 per cent is too high.”

The work, which is due for completion in the late summer, will involve the construction of a new inlet pumping station to remove ground water from the treatment equation, the existing equipment having been damaged by the rising water table during heavy rainfall.

Further modifications to the reed-bed process will improve the distribution of flows.

The project is being delivered by Solutions, a joint venture partnership between the water quango and leading construction and engineering companies.

Mark Keast, construction manager for the Cardrona project, told us: “This is a significant investment for a community with a population now in excess of 1,300. It will improve the long-term performance of the works as well as the natural environment of the majestic River Tweed for many years to come.”

Morag Stark, general manager of the MacDonald Hotel in Cardrona, said: “This will benefit not only the village but the many visitors who come to fish each year.”

Back in February, Scottish Borders Council’s watchdog scrutiny panel, at the insistence of Clovenfords Community Council, agreed to review the thorny issue of the region’s sewage infrastructure.

“It seems there are problems all over the Borders with many old sewage disposal systems no longer having the capacity to cope with additional housing developments,” said Councillor Logan.

“Scrutiny is due to hold its hearing on this hot topic in August so councillors will now have one less problem to worry about.”