Scottish Water has confirmed it will take back ownership of four treatment plants in the north-east of Scotland, prompting hopes of an end to long-standing odour problems for residents in the surrounding area. The sites have been managed under the Private Finance Initiative (PFI).
The relevant sites include the Nigg work in Torry, Aberdeen (the focus of many odour complaints in the past) in addition to Peterhead, Persley and Fraserburgh.
Scottish Water took over the works from Kelda Water Services Ltd (KWS), a subsidiary of Kelda Group, on 19 December, it was reported in The Press and Journal.
Following the announcement, hopes seemed to be raised by local politicians, who anticipated a new start for the site.
Opened in 2001, the £63 million Nigg Waste Water Treatment Works has been the focus of ongoing complaints ever since.
According to The Press and Journal, in June, some residents said the stench had been so bad that they left their gardens and retreated indoors to get away from it.
A total of 46 staff across the four sites will continue to work on the sites.
In comments made to the Aberdeen newspaper, Scottish Water chief executive Douglas Millican said that work was underway to ensure these facilities “continue to provide a resilient and reliable waste water service to communities in the north-east for many years to come”.
Since 2000, the site has been managed under a PFI contract between Aberdeen Environmental Services Ltd (the PFI Company) and Scottish Water.
Complaints about odour from the treatment works seemed to have declined to a handful over the quarterly reporting period, according to Aberdeen South and North Kincardine MSP Maureen Watt.
However, she said, “I would urge constituents who still have concerns over smells in the area to make sure they report them using SEPA’s hotline – 0800 80 70 60 – so that we are all getting an accurate picture.
“As chair of the Nigg Waste Water Treatment Works Liaison Group, I have been aware for some time of the uncertainly that the previous arrangement caused for Scottish Water and other stakeholders, particularly over the last year, and look forward to seeing the plants operate under their expertise”.