A £21 million waste-water treatment works has officially opened in a north-east town.
The works in Inverurie, the first in Scotland to use a technology called Nereda, was opened by Rural Affairs and Natural Environment Minister Mairi Gougeon.
The technology breaks sludge into granules, enabling multiple treatment processes to take place at the same time.
It makes treating wastewater faster and more efficient, while avoiding the need for pumps and mixers – meaning less energy and space is needed to treat a greater quantity of wastewater, reducing the operating costs of the site.
The project was delivered by Scottish Water alliance partner ESD and included building new sewer pipework, improving the resilience of the site to flooding and upgrading existing equipment.
Ms Gougeon said: “While treating wastewater isn’t something people probably like to think about too often, it is something that is absolutely vital to protect not only our health and sanitation, but also the environment.
“Developing new more efficient ways of treating wastewater through the deployment of new technology is hugely important as Scotland takes decisive steps towards tackling the climate emergency we are facing around the world.”
Scottish Water chief executive Douglas Millican said: “We are always looking for ways to innovate and protect the environment both locally and globally, so it is very exciting to see this new state-of-the-art treatment works officially opened.”
The majority of construction work on site was completed in the spring, and while most of the work took place in the Scottish Water site, installing new pipework beneath the railway line involved a closure of Keithhall Road.
ESD chief operating officer Wendy Cooper said: “We are very proud of what has been achieved at Inverurie, successfully delivering a cutting-edge new wastewater treatment technology in Scotland for the first time.
“Success in this project has involved close collaboration between Scottish Water, ESD, Royal HaskoningDHV (the suppliers of the Nereda technology) and our wider supply chain.
“As well as delivering the long-term benefits of the investment for the future of the town and its environment, we have worked to minimise any short-term disruption for the neighbours of the site and to make a positive contribution to the life of the local community.
“We are very grateful for the welcome we’ve been given.”