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


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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