New £2.8m works secure water for Scotland’s remotest community

Work has been completed on an innovative £2.8m replacement water treatment plant which will serve Scotland’s most northerly inhabited island in the Shetlands.

Due to its remote location, the facility on the Isle of Unst has around double the normal drinking water storage capacity of a typical treatment works.

The additional water on Unst can be stored with the installation of a large glass-coated steel clear water tank. It also features a permanent standby power generator to make the works increasingly resilient.

The plant, which takes water from two local lochs, also features a laboratory and modern treatment equipment, such as nanofiltration and disinfection equipment.

Around 1,000 Scottish Water customers’ homes and businesses will receive drinking water from the new facility.

To minimise time on site and ease the construction process, the process plant was pre-assembled and tested at the workshop of contractor Ross-shire Engineering in Muir of Ord, before being stripped down and shipped to Unst for re-assembly.

The building design also had to account for extremely high wind loadings as Unst has some of the highest recorded wind speeds recorded in the UK.

Project manager Malcolm Miller added: “When embarking on this project we were conscious that we needed a building that could withstand the strong winds frequently recorded on Unst and provide increased storage capacity for the benefit of Scottish Water customers.”

Conor McGlone

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