WORK has started on a £700,000 improvement scheme to stop sewage being discharged into the Firth of Forth at Port Edgar.
The project includes the installation of new powered, fine mesh screens at the Scottish Water pumping station to prevent debris and other materials getting into the plant, which can cause blockages, leading to spills.
Scottish Water is also investing in the waste water network on the Fife side of the Forth with projects at Dunfermline, Dalgety Bay and Inverkeithing all due to get under way soon.
Martin Evans, construction manager for the Port Edgar project, said the investment would deliver long-term benefits. He said: “This is a significant investment which will help to improve the natural environment of the Forth for many years to come. Already, Scottish Water has invested significantly in this area with the construction of the town’s new waste water treatment works completed a few years ago.
“We’re taking the next step to help safeguard the river quality, investing in the waste water network.
“This investment will see amongst other items the installation of two new powered, fine mesh screens which will reduce the likelihood of debris entering into the river.
“We would, however, ask local residents to play their part too and watch what they flush down their toilets and wash down their kitchen sinks.”
The improvement programme is being carried out by Scottish Water Solutions, the project delivery arm of Scottish Water, which is a joint venture partnership with several large civil engineering companies.
Scottish Water’s regional community manager for the area, Bill Elliot, said: “Our important investment will deliver tangible environmental benefits for those both living near the Forth and using Port Edgar for their leisure, whether that be sailing, kayaking or powerboating.
“Our project at the Port Edgar pumping station will further improve the river, building on the improvements in river quality already made through the construction of the town’s waste water treatment works.”
Scottish Water said an estimated 340 million items of sanitary waste were flushed every year, with around £6m a year spent trying to fix blockages and repair the damage.
The company said 55 per cent of all sewer blockages were caused by people disposing of cooking fat down their sink, clogging sewers and pumping stations and leading to sewage overflows, potentially damaging the environment.
Edinburgh Western SNP MSP Colin Keir said: “I’m delighted that Scottish Water is investing in the Forth’s marine environment.
“The new screens will reduce the likelihood of debris reaching the river before the water is treated, therefore reducing pollution in the Forth”