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Scottish Water submits new licence application for Gairloch Waste Water Treatment Works

08 January 2019

Scottish Water has submitted a new application to the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) to amend its discharge licence at Gairloch Waste Water Treatment Works (WWTW).

In April last year, Scottish Water withdrew a previous application to allow further discussion to take place via a Stakeholder Group, in order to build a shared understanding of the issues and identify an acceptable way forward.  

Following completion of an independent technical review of the technology currently in place at Gairloch WWTW and the options for the future, it was agreed with the Stakeholder Group in August that Scottish Water should proceed with installing a new treatment process made up of septic tanks, disc filters and ultra-violet (UV) treatment.  

Scottish Water agreed that it will operate the new treatment process throughout the year for an initial 2 year pilot period, with the exception of an agreed period in the second winter when it will provide treatment without UV.   Year-round water quality sampling over this period will allow both Scottish Water and other stakeholders to understand the relative environmental benefit of providing additional treatment outwith the designated bathing water season.   At the end of the pilot period, Scottish Water will work with the Stakeholder Group to agree long term operating arrangements based on the evidence obtained.

Scottish Water’s Head of Corporate Relations Alan Thomson said: 
“We are grateful to representatives of Gairloch Community Council, Highland Council and SEPA for their willingness to work with us to find a reliable and sustainable solution that will serve our customers in Gairloch for the long term, reduce the risk of pollution and ensure the excellent status of Gairloch’s bathing waters is maintained.

“The licence application that we have submitted shows how the new treatment process will maintain the excellent status of Gairloch’s bathing waters during the season when bathing water regulations apply in Scotland.  

“The agreement we have reached with the Stakeholder Group goes beyond this and provides for a 2 year pilot period during which year-round water quality sampling will be carried out.  This will give us an improved understanding of the environmental benefit that UV treatment achieves outwith the bathing season.

“We hope to continue working closely with the Stakeholder Group over the coming years - and are committed to agreeing long term operating arrangements for Gairloch WWTW with them on the basis of the evidence obtained at the end of the trial.”

Representations can be submitted to SEPA in relation to Scottish Water’s application to amend its discharge licence in writing within 28 days of this Friday [11 January], quoting reference number CAR/L/1002928 either via email to or by post to ‘Registry Department, SEPA, Dingwall office, Graesser House, Fodderty Way, Dingwall, 1V15 9XB’.   

Initial groundworks for the new treatment process at the WWTW site at Fasaich are expected to begin next month.  Scottish Water will continue operating the existing treatment plant until all elements of the new treatment process have been installed and fully commissioned.