Scottish Water Turns Treatment Works Into A Wildflower Haven!

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In a bid to boost biodiversity and help protect local wildlife, Scottish Water has transformed some land at its Aberchirder Wastewater Treatment Works into a wildflower haven for insects, with over 40 species of wildflowers now planted at the site, including bug hotels and bird boxes.


Nina Ker, wastewater team leader for the east of Scotland, said that the supplier’s other sites around the region are already being assessed for similar projects, explaining that biodiversity is essential to halt the decline of insect populations, while helping the pollinators we need for our food.


The idea for the project was that of process scientist Nichola Hepburn, who was inspired to give it a go after seeing similar success with her own pond area at home.


She said: “As a team we thought this would make for a lovely biodiversity project and started planting the flowers in May. We are amazed at how fabulous the area now looks and how successful it has been.


“We planted over 40 different species of wildflowers and put-up bird boxes and bug hotels which is especially important for our area as the north-east of Scotland has had the largest decline of native flowers in the UK. We also don’t cut the grass or use any sprays on the wildflower areas which is more sustainable and much better for the environment.”


Ms Hepburn went on to add that the hope is that others will see just how easy this is to do, especially since once the plants are properly established they don’t need any maintenance work… so perfect even for people who don’t consider themselves green-fingered.


Meanwhile, the water supplier has also just completed its £3.4 million Tarbert wastewater improvement project, with the investment intended to help reduce the risk of sewer flooding in Bute, Argyll and Tarbert. The work began back in August 2020 and, now complete, will increase the capacity of the local sewer network to tackle historic flooding problems.


Some 350 metres of upsized sewer pipe and large diameter sewers were installed, with these upgrades also helping to prevent items that are wrongly flushed down the toilet from finding their way into the sea during severe storm events.


Corporate affairs manager for the west Georgina Reid explained that action needed to be taken because of the tidal surge, surface water and insufficient hydraulic capacity on the network, with sewer flooding causing serious distress for local communities.


Similarly, work also began last month (August) on a major investment to improve the wastewater infrastructure in Craigleith Road in Edinburgh to help protect communities from flooding issues. It will take around 12 months to complete the project, increasing the capacity of the network to protect properties and streets from internal and external flooding.


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