Seil waste plans not re­vealed

The Oban Times - - NEWS -

THE three new op­tions for a re­place­ment sewage plant on Seil won’t be re­vealed un­til April, Seil and Eas­dale Com­mu­nity Coun­cil heard last week, writes Sandy Neil.

Scot­tish Wa­ter’s £11 mil­lion Clachan Seil Waste Wa­ter Works, which is un­able to sep­a­rate run- off from heavy rain, has been over­flow­ing un­treated hu­man waste into Balvicar Bay.

The com­pany’s £1.8 mil­lion so­lu­tion was to pump sewage from Clachan over a hill into a sep­tic tank at Seav­iew Ter­race near El­len­abe­ich, and then out into a Marine Con­ser­va­tion Area, which some is­lan­ders deemed ‘cheap’, ‘nasty’, and ‘in­ept’.

Scot­tish Wa­ter (SW) ac­knowl­edged the leak­ing plant be­tween Balvicar and Clachan had re­sulted in a break­down in trust ad that in or­der to re­build trust with the com­mu­nity, and to be trans­par­ent with the ev­i­dence in the de­ci­sion-mak­ing process, a stake­holder group was set up that in­cluded SW em­ploy­ees, an in­de­pen­dent ex­pert, lo­cal rep­re­sen­ta­tives, coun­cil­lors and MSP Michael Rus­sell.

In June, SW un­veiled two al­ter­na­tives to its con­tro­ver­sial plan at a pub­lic event in Seil Is­land Com­mu­nity Hall. But at a closed meet­ing in Au­gust, all three of SW’s op­tions to re­place its fail­ing mem­brane plant were re­jected by the is­land’s rep­re­sen­ta­tives, who re­quested fur­ther pro­pos­als.

The stake­holder group held an­other meet­ing on Jan­uary 16 to dis­cuss three new op­tions for a re­place­ment with the new in­de­pen­dent ex­pert Chris Chubb.

But at it’s meet­ing last Tues­day, Seil and Eas­dale Com­mu­nity Coun­cil heard that is­land rep­re­sen­ta­tives had been asked not to re­veal these un­til the group’s next meet­ing in April.

Com­mu­nity coun­cil­lor Anne Marie Robin told the meet­ing: ‘Scot­tish Wa­ter has been asked to re­port back with more de­tail and fig­ures on three op­tions be­fore the next stake­holder meet­ing on April 24. The com­mu­nity will then be con­sulted.

‘At the meet­ing, we were ad­vised not to share the draft op­tions de­tails with the com­mu­nity at this stage.’

Scot­tish Wa­ter re­sponded: ‘It has al­ways been our in­ten­tion to go back to the wider com­mu­nity at the ap­pro­pri­ate time, once a more de­fined and pre­ferred op­tion/op­tions have been fully eval­u­ated.

‘The three op­tions be­ing fur­ther in­ves­ti­gated in­clude a pump-away scheme with treat­ment at Seav­iew, and two op­tions which con­sider re-po­si­tion­ing of the ex­ist­ing works in­land with sep­a­rate treat­ment at Seav­iew.

‘Scot­tish Wa­ter will con­tinue to en­gage with the stake­holder group on an on­go­ing ba­sis with the next meet­ing planned for April to up­date on fur­ther de­tailed work.

‘When the pre­ferred op­tion has been de­fined we will en­gage fur­ther with the com­mu­nity to keep them in­formed.’

The fail­ing £11 mil­lion Clachan Seil Waste Wa­ter Works are due to be re­placed.

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