Scottish Water is reviewing its plans for the future of waste water treatment in Gairloch in the light of continuing concerns of the local community.

 To allow open and constructive engagement with stakeholders to take place, we have withdrawn our application to amend the discharge licence at Gairloch Waste Water Treatment Work and will continue to operate the existing plant until a viable long-term solution is identified.

 A stakeholder group will be set up to consider options under an independent chair and will involve representatives from the local community, Scottish Water and SEPA. More details on the membership of the group will be provided shortly.


The existing Waste Water Treatment Works at Gairloch was completed in 2002 and uses membrane bioreactor technology. This provides a high level of waste water treatment, but it has not been able to do this on a reliable basis during normal variations in flow from the sewer network.

 At times when the existing WWTW cannot treat the full flow, this presents a significant risk of screened but otherwise untreated waste water being released into the environment. 

 The reason we are proposing change is to ensure we can provide waste water treatment on a reliable basis under all normal operating conditions.  Our goal remains to find a reliable and sustainable solution that will serve our customers in Gairloch for the long term and reduce the risk of pollution.

Previous proposals

To address the issues arising with the current membrane plant, Scottish Water had proposed to install a new treatment works using septic tanks, a disk filter and disinfection with ultra-violet light.

The most recent proposals took into account the fact that the Gairloch and Sand beaches were granted bathing water status in 2016 and the licence application demonstrated how the new bathing waters environmental standard would be met.

This application has now been withdrawn to allow further discussion with the community to take place in order to identify the right technical and operational approach for the long term.

Listening to our customers

Listening to our customers is important to us and we recognise that customers in Gairloch have raised strong concerns about the proposed changes that we haven’t yet been able to address to their satisfaction. We want to establish a better dialogue so the community can be fully engaged in a long-term solution that will protect the local environment.

 You can still read documents and information relating to our earlier proposals and engagement with the community below.