Investment goes west

West of Scotland Water has just been reorganised to ensure that it is capable of meeting and exceeding the demands of its customers. To meet this challenge, the authority is spending millions on its capital expenditure programme upgrading and constructing its infrastructure.

In a move to improve services to customers, West of Scotland Water (WoSW) has unveiled a new corporate structure which streamlines and focuses the executive team.

As part of these objectives, WoSW intends to spend over £300 million over the next five years on the wastewater side of the business alone. Typical projects include new and improved water and wastewater treatment works, sludge treatment centres along with improvements to the distribution network.

WoSW will stop dumping sewage sludge at sea at the end of the year. During the past year, work commenced on the construction of a new sludge treatment centre at Cumnock and negotiations have taken place for the new sludge treatment centre at Daldowie.

The £6.5 million Cumnock sludge treatment centre, when competed, will consist of screening and thickening, before the sludge is digested and then retained for pathogen kill time. The treated sludge from the centre, which serves a population of 66,500, will go to land for agricultural use. Negotiations have also taken place with SMW ­ a consortium made up of Scottish Power, Wabag and Miller Construction ­ regarding the £57 million Private Finance Initiative (PFI) project for Shieldhall sludge treatment centre, where sewage sludge will be burnt with coal.

PFI, a scheme carried over from the previous Conservative government, is not about borrowing money from the private sector, it transforms the water authorities from being owners and operators of assets into purchasers of services from the private sector. Private firms become long term providers of services rather than upfront asset builders, combining the responsibilities of designing, building, financing and operating the assets in order to deliver the services demanded.

The preferred bidder for adding secondary treatment to Dalmuir Sewage Treatment Works, another PFI scheme, is Scotia Water, a consortium of Saur, Stereau, Taylor Woodrow Construction, Barr Construction, and Halcrow. The project involves the design and construction of a secondary treatment works capable of treating an annual flow of approximately 100 million cubic metres of sewage to meet the standards required by legislation. Scotia Water will then be responsible for the operation and maintenance of the works to meet these criteria for the next 25 years. Work on site is anticipated to start in the spring of 1999.

Work has commenced on improving the sewerage system at Ayr and, as an interim measure, fine screening facilities and disinfection were fitted to the existing four sea outfalls. The £30 million Ayr Relief Sewer Scheme will transfer wastewater from Ayr to the treatment facilities at Meadowhead. The first phase, which was started last August, is the construction of a new 5.5km interceptor sewer and a new pumping station.

WoSW is also constructing new pumping stations and pipelines to link wastewater treatment sites to its sludge treatment centre. One £6.5 million link is between Dalmuir and Shieldhall serving a population of 595,000 while the other, worth £6 million serving a population of 1,450,000, links Dalmarnock to Daldowie, which is part of the Shieldhall scheme.

Substantial investment chas followed WoSW's commitment to upgrading the water supply infrastructure inherited by the company, with several new treatment works constructed. Other completed projects include the recently opened £7.8 million Ashgrove Water Treatment Works, which supplies 30Ml/d to the Authority's customers in Saltcoats, Stevenston and Kilwinning in North Ayrshire. Designed to blend in with the rolling countryside, the works, fitted with DAF streams, primary and secondary rapid gravity filters and chlorine contract tanks, is designed to remove colour from the water, especially manganese, which can cause black specks on whites being washed.


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