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Gairloch Waste Water Treatment Works Improvements

Scottish Water is planning to invest £800,000 in improvements to Gairloch Waste Water Treatment Works, which serves around 1,000 customers in Wester Ross.

Project Overview

The investment will improve the reliability and sustainability of the facility while continuing to protect and enhance the environment.

Using proven technology, a septic tank system, we will achieve current environmental discharge quality requirements, with a lower carbon footprint. The new system, which is already used successfully at many Scottish Water sites across Scotland, requires much less electricity. There will be less vehicle movement to and from the site, reduced noise and visual impact. There will also be landscaping and the removal of some existing structures.

Following independent review, there will be a 25-metre extension to the existing outfall in Loch Gairloch which will take the pipe about 80 metres out from the shore.

Key information

  • The Gairloch WWTW was completed in 2004.  The existing treatment process used at the works has proven un-reliable to operate and maintain.  The existing membranes are up to eight years-old are reaching the end of their lifespan.
  • Scottish Water will work with the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), its environmental regulator, to ensure the discharge of treated waste water from the facility meets SEPA’s environmental standards. Any future Bathing Water designation will be considered as and when it is applied.  
  • Scottish Water has now applied to SEPA and Marine Scotland for the necessary licences and adverts regarding these have appeared in the Ross-shire Journal.
  • Subject to consultation and approval of the necessary licences, Scottish Water plans to start the improvement work in late autumn 2016 and expects the work to be completed by late spring 2017.

Information Event

Listening to our customers is important to us and in Summer 2016 we held three information events and liaised with the community council about our work and what it will involve. We will keep this webpage up to date with any new information.

We have also reviewed responses submitted following our planning application and we have assessed the impact of the proposed changes to the waste water treatment works and extension of the outfall and we can confirm that these comply with environmental designations.

Environmental Iicences
Scottish Water received planning approval from Highland Council for the redevelopment of the waste water treatment works in March 2016. Scottish Water has to applied to the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) for a Controlled Activities Regulations (CAR) licence to extend the current outfall to a suitable discharge point.  The discharge point has been assessed by an independent consultant using accepted modeling techniques and the results of the modeling assessment have been provided to SEPA as part of the CAR Licence application.

Scottish Water has also applied to Marine Scotland for a Marine Licence construction consent for the outfall extension on the sea bed.

Applications to SEPA and Marine Scotland were advertised in the Ross-shire Journal. They included a brief description of the work, where to find more information and how to make representations to SEPA and Marine Scotland.  The consultation period for both applications ran for 28 days from 8th July 2016. You can download a pdf of these applications below.


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Gairloch Information event posters

810 KB PDF
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Posters that were displayed at the Gairloch Information event

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CAR Licence

417 KB PDF
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CAR Licence for Gairloch Waste Water Treatment Works
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Marine Scotland Licence Application

261 KB PDF
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Application to Marine Scotland for a Marine Licence construction consent for the outfall extension on the sea bed