Scottish Water trials oxygenation to improve water quality

Scottish Water has launched Scotland's first oxygenation trial on the Inner Clyde Estuary, Glasgow in a bid to improve water quality and stimulate local wildlife.

The £1M works, which started last month (July 2011), is expected to be completed by this September and involves the injection of oxygen into the water to aerate it. The River Clyde was chosen for the trial as it is an area which has been polluted by industrial activity.

Working in partnership with the Scottish Government, SEPA, Glasgow City Council and River Clyde management firm Clydeport, Scottish Water said it hopes the trial will help improve the river’s water quality and encourage wildlife to return to the area.

A spokesperson for Scottish Water told edie: “This is the first time we have done an oxygenation trial in Scotland, but it has proved successful in other parts of the country.

“The River Clyde area is polluted because of industrial activity such as ship building, so we hope this trial will improve water quality and stimulate water and plant life by making it more habitable.”

Generally an estuary would naturally oxygenate as part of the tidal cycle. However, changes to the shape of the Inner Clyde Estuary over the last two centuries mean that this is no longer the case.

Two oxygen injection units, suspended from an unpowered barge moored off the river bank at Scottish Water’s Shieldhall waste water treatment works, will then draw in river water, oxygenate it and discharge it back into the river.

Scottish Water’s special projects manager, Kieran Downey, said: “It is hoped that this oxygenation trial will confirm that the introduction of oxygen and mixing of the water column will help the Inner Clyde Estuary achieve Good Ecological Potential.

“This wider strategy is to achieve water quality improvement in watercourses and support of economic development objectives.”

Following the trial, recommendations will be given to allow Scottish Water to make an informed decision about future improvements to water quality in the River Clyde.

Carys Matthews

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