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Caithness News Bulletins February 2005

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A package of improvements worth almost £1million is about to get underway which will bring huge environmental benefits to the communities of Papigoe, Broadhaven and Bower and people living in the Scalesburn and Victoria Place areas of Wick.

Approximately £212,000 is being invested in a new septic tank and reed bed at Thura Place in Bower to improve waste water treatment. Waste water discharges into the Burn of Bower and the new septic tank and reed bed will clean up the discharge. Reed beds use natural bacteria to break down sewage and recycle it into clean water. Reed beds don’t use any chemicals, they reduce the risk of flooding, they minimise any odours and blend in well with a rural environment. They can also provide habitats for wildlife.

At Papigoe and Broadhaven a project worth around £402,000 will see improved sewage treatment for the two villages, which currently discharge raw waste into the sea. Their waste water is going to be pumped to the treatment plant at Wick. This will mean new pumping stations and sewers. Neighbours of the pumping stations will benefit as the smells from the current outfalls will disappear.

And in Wick new screening is to be installed to help the storm overflows in Victoria Place and Scalesburn cope better during adverse weather. The work is worth approximately £295,000. An overflow is a sort of release valve that eases pressure on the system. The new screening should mean a water quality improvement in the nearby Wick River.

The whole package of improvements should be complete by summer.

Ross Murray, project manager at Scottish Water Solutions, said: “These projects are part of Scottish Water’s ongoing capital investment in the quality of waste water treatment for Caithness. Throughout the work we will endeavour to keep disruption to a minimum for local residents.”

Scottish Water’s 2002-06 Capital Investment Programme is worth £1.8billion, £152million of it in the Highlands and Islands. Scottish Water Solutions is an award-winning partnership of utility companies and contractors set up to help deliver the programme. Other projects already being delivered by Scottish Water bring the total level of investment in the Highlands and Islands to more than £200million.