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Scottish Water’s longest serving employee takes Chief Operating Officer back to his roots

20 February 2018

                                     Peter and John 

Scottish Water’s longest serving employee has been putting the utility’s Chief Operating Officer (COO) Peter Farrer through his paces as a Fife tanker driver for the day.  

Robert Malcolm was recognised for his nearly five decades of public service during a series of staff events last year, whilst Peter is also a long serving member of the utility with over thirty years’ experience in the industry.
With over eighty years public sector service combined, Robert agreed to put Peter through his paces as a tanker drivers assistant to see if he could still get his hands dirty.

The pair met at 6am on a frosty morning at Dunfermline Waste Water Treatment works (WWTW); and after going through the tanker’s morning safety checks, embarked on their journey to the treatment works just outside Springfield.  

On the route, taking in the picturesque views of the Fife countryside, they discussed just how much the water industry in Scotland has been transformed since they started their careers when water and waste water treatment was run by local authorities.  

Upon arriving, Robert quickly got to work hooking up the tanker equipment to the first of the tanks, talking Peter through the process whilst the powerful vacuum pumped approximately 30,000 cubic litres of sludge into the tanker.

Peter, under Robert’s supervision, helped couple and uncouple the hoses, proving he’s not shy when it comes to hard work.

After completing the first job which took around 40 minutes, they then delivered the sludge back to Dunfermline WWTW for processing. They then set off for Iron Mill Bay WWTW, near Charlestown.

Once there, they realised they would have to undertake two trips that day to account for the two large tanks at the site with Peter doing his fair share of the work.

Back at Dunfermline WWTW and reflecting on the day, Peter said: “It was fantastic to experience first-hand the role Robert does for the organisation. After all his years of service, he’s certainly not afraid of hard work especially in these cold conditions. Thankfully the equipment he handles is state of the art and the days of manually handling the pumps are long gone. The day also confirmed we have some of the most loyal and hardworking staff in the industry.”   

Robert said: “It was a pleasure to take Peter along my route across Fife. It was interesting to talk about how much the water industry has changed since we started. He certainly wasn’t shy about getting stuck in and he can come back and help me out any time.”