BLOG: On Arran, I’m a Modern Apprentice with Many Hats – says Ian McAdam

03 September 2020
Ian McAdam water efficiency on Arran Blog

Ian is encouraging islanders to save water

Ian McAdam water efficiency on Arran Blog

We're giving out free water saving packs

Multi-tasking is the number one skill when it come to being a member of the water operations team on Arran.

I’m a multi-functional Modern Apprentice with Scottish Water and I've been working on the island for about five months now. I had to go home to the mainland during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, so I’m very glad to be back now.

“Many people don’t think about the costs and resources needed to get the water to their tap, and take away and treat their waste water.”

Ian McAdam
Modern Apprentice, Water Operations
My job involves maintaining the water and wastewater networks on Arran, attending the various treatment works, service reservoirs, sewage pumping stations, and septic tanks – as well as solving issues for customers.

Providing these vital water services on an island comes with its own challenges and water efficiency is a top priority. Many people don’t think about the costs and resources needed to get the water to their tap, and take away and treat their waste water.

We’ve recently launched a campaign to help communities on Arran save water and I’ve really enjoyed doing my bit to encourage people to make some simple changes to how they can use less water in and around their homes and gardens.

We’re working with local environmental group Arran Eco-Savvy and Home Energy Scotland, giving out packs with water-saving devices people can use.

In summer, Arran can sometimes triple its population from around 5,000 to 15,000 and these tourism spikes mean a much higher demand to keep the water running smoothly, and ensure everyone is getting water to their properties. We also face a range of customer issues, requests, and questions that we work to answer and resolve.
Ian McAdam water efficiency on Arran Blog

Islanders are being given tips to be more water efficient

Ian McAdam water efficiency on Arran Blog

Looking after Arran's water and waste water services. Pic: Mark Bunyan, Scottish Water

The multi-functional aspect of the job includes responding to any problems with our network and fixing them as soon as we can.

Every day, we must visit our three treatment works/membrane plants in Balmichael, Corrie, and Lochranza, to visually check everything is running smoothly and responding to anything that needs fixed. We need to constantly keep all our information updated so we know what’s been done or what needs to be done.

We also look after 10 service reservoirs, three borehole sites, and two burn intakes on the island, as well as helping contractors at our treatment works.
And that’s just the water services! On the waste water side, we’ve got 10 sewage pumping stations, three main septic tanks, and a cluster of smaller public septic tanks to look after too.

The secret is always to try and think one step ahead. So that while you’re out fixing a burst, you’ll have one eye on what needs doing next.

This is my first job and it’s been a big challenge making the big jump from school to work, but I’m really enjoying learning new skills and getting used to having a working life.

Working with Scottish Water is really rewarding, especially on an island, as you get to know lots of people personally and you can see you’re helping to make a difference in their daily lives.

Suffice to say there’s never a dull moment!