Government must pump cash into Scottish Water to avert crisis, says expert

An Edinburgh surface water expert is urging government ministers to pump cash into Scottish Water to avert a drainage crisis.
Frank O’Donnell, AKA the Surface Water Guy.Frank O’Donnell, AKA the Surface Water Guy.
Frank O’Donnell, AKA the Surface Water Guy.

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Frank O’Donnell, who is known as ‘The Surface Water Guy’, said Scottish Water have a ‘huge’ job ahead of them in disconnecting properties from storm drainage systems, adding that the company must receive additional government cash to make sure this essential work is possible.

Mr O’Donnell said: “The Scottish sewerage system is under a huge amount of pressure and with a record increase of 40 per cent in the number of sewerage spills over the last five years – that’s 119m cubic metres of wastewater that were discharged in the recorded overflow events in that period.

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“The way I see it is that there are two strands to this – the first is to use sustainable drainage systems on all new properties and second is to disconnect buildings from storm drains and reconnect them to sustainable systems.

“My understanding is that Scottish Water has plans to disconnect properties from storm drains but they do not have the resources to do this effectively without additional funding.

“It’s simple to use a carbon negative system that involves drilling 12m down to ensure water is not trapped at the surface and can travel into multiple layers of soil to drain.

“For Scottish Water to accelerate disconnecting buildings from storm drains to really remove the pressure on the system and avoid a future disaster the Scottish Government must invest in this before it has to spend many millions more on a broken infrastructure.”

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T ommy Cochrane, director of TMC Planning, said he agreed and added: “Climate change is here to stay whether we like it or not.

“The construction industry needs to use systems where water does not have to be sent to treatment works.

“This can definitely be applied to all new builds right now and retro-fitting on existing buildings is achievable space-permitting.

“There is no quick-fix solution here but I would urge the Scottish Government to work with Scottish Water to find drainage alternatives when taking properties out of the storm drain equation.”

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