Scottish Water Horizons fined for Cumbernauld odours

Scottish Water Horizons Limited was fined £26,000 at Airdrie Sheriff Court on Monday 10 October 2016 due to offensive odours coming from its Deerdykes Composting and Organics Recycling facility during 2012.

The company pled guilty to five charges of failing to comply with the conditions of its former Pollution Prevention and Control (PPC) permit, which was issued by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA). The matter was investigated by SEPA officers and a report sent to the Procurator Fiscal.

SEPA first received public complaints of offensive odours on 14 June 2012 when SEPA officers detected offensive odours coming from the activities carried out at the Deerdykes site, which included the composting of wastes.

In response to continued public complaints of odour between June 2012 and November 2012, SEPA officers attended the site, and identified that the outdoor composting of waste and the turning, screening and maturation of the compost was contributing to the offensive odours. SEPA officers also identified that equipment designed to treat odorous air was not performing adequately. The permit was transferred from Scottish Water Horizons Limited to Scottish Water in 2013 and significant improvements have since been made to the way in which the site operates to limit offensive odours.

Fiona Graham, SEPA’s Reporting Officer, said:
“The regulations state very clearly that an operator must use the best available techniques for preventing or, where that is not practicable, reducing emissions from the site. Techniques include both the technology used and the way in which the installation is designed, built, maintained and operated.

“The local communities in Condorrat, Cumbernauld, Mollinsburn and Moodiesburn and a neighbouring soft play area, were regularly and severely impacted by the activities of the Deerdykes site over a prolonged period of time. Although the offensiveness of any odour is subjective, there is a distinctive unpleasantness in being subjected to offensive odours at your home or business.

“Scottish Water Horizons Limited was given the opportunity to put further engineered measures in place to control odours, but insisted that management controls would ensure compliance rather than investing in infrastructure. We hope that this fine demonstrates to all companies that compliance is not an option. If operators do not meet the conditions of their permit, and do not take the required steps to ensure their site is compliant, we will not hesitate to recommend them for prosecution.”