Investment puts Nature at Heart of Keeping Orphir’s Waters Clean

21 May 2024
The new aerated reed bed that has been installed as part of Orphir WWTW, with the village beyond

Nearly reed-y

The aerated reed bed will offer an improved level of treatment, as well as bringing biodiversity benefits

“Our team is really proud of what’s been achieved on a small site in Orphir, working closely with our Orkney supply chain partners.”

Matthew Anderson
Construction Manager, Morrison Construction
Scottish Water has completed a £2m investment to improve the performance of the Waste Water Treatment Works that serves customers in the village of Orphir in Orkney. 

The small WWTW was originally built in 1999 to meet the needs of Orphir’s Community School and areas of newer housing in the village. It originally used a series of treatment tanks, as well as gravel and sand filtration. 

The community’s continuing growth and pressure on the local burn resulted in the need for investment being agreed with Scottish Water’s environmental regulator SEPA. Working closely with its delivery partner Morrison Construction, Scottish Water developed an innovative solution using a new septic tank and an aerated reed bed to provide an enhanced level of treatment. 

Scottish Water Waste Water Investment Planner for the north and the northern isles Alan Clouston said: “The majority of our Waste Water Treatment Works are based on biological treatment processes and Orphir is no exception. The new works uses a new, improved version of the traditional reed bed to speed up the biological process and provide an enhanced level of nature-based treatment at the site. It also supports the community’s growth by enabling  connection of new homes in the local area. 

“When the reeds are fully established, this will create a green area on site that will be more pleasing to the eye than traditional concrete structures, along with supporting biodiversity too. The new works is a relatively low input process compared to alternatives which gives a carbon efficient way of achieving a better standard of treatment.” 

Morrison’s Construction Manager Matthew Anderson added: “Our team is really proud of what’s been achieved on a small site in Orphir, working closely with our Orkney supply chain partners. 

“The site is looking good and already performing well – and the reeds should become well-established through the coming summer. We would like to thank neighbouring residents and the wider community for their patience and support while we were working in their area.”