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Nairn Show-goers urged to sign environment pledge (27/07/09)
Issued by Scottish Water
Thousands of people due to attend this weekend's Nairn Show (1 August) are to be encouraged to sign a pledge to help protect the Highland seaside town's beautiful bathing beaches and picturesque river, which are under threat from pollution.
The Scottish Water initiative, backed by SEPA (Scottish Environmen Protection Agency) and Nairn Provost Liz Macdonald is the latest effort to highlight the risks to the local environment from...
- Cooking oils and fats poured down plugholes and drains.
- Dumped septic sewage sludge.
- Inappropriate household items flushed down toilets.
INCIDENTS IN RECENT WEEKS
Scottish Water has been prompted to take a stand at the Nairn Show due
to a number of incidents in recent weeks...
- A large quantity of used cooking oil was poured into the Nairn drainage system in early July, smothering the treatment works and disrupting the organic process used to digest sewage and disperse clean water in the Moray Firth. Only due to the quick thinking of Scottish Water staff was a serious pollution event prevented.
- In June a large quantity of used cooking oil was removed from a road gully by Highland Council in the Cawdor Street area of Nairn. A local business had been storing used oil outside and claimed that youths had poured the contents down the drain.
- A business in the Cawdor area which repeatedly promised to install a fat trap to prevent cooking oils entering the drainage system despite three years of warnings by Scottish Water has now been sent a formal bill for the cost of keeping the system clear.
- A number of incidents occurred during May and June at Cawdor where concentrated sewage sludge from septic tanks was dumped in the drains, causing the final effluent into the River Nairn from the local treatment works to turn acidic. Leads are being followed up.
Joanna Peebles, Scottish Water's Communities Manager for the Highlands, said: "Nairn's environment is what draws the crowds and helps the town thrive. We've run campaigns in recent years and months but it seems there is a minority who don't care. Our operatives are doing their best to clear blockages, mop up spillages and maintain the treatment works but it really is over to the people of Nairn now. We've taken a stand at the Nairn Show and will be asking people to sign a pledge. We want them to take pride in their local environment and help us protect it."
Nairn Provost Liz Macdonald said: "It's a great pity that people don't listen to and follow the advice of Scottish Water and SEPA who are doing their best to protect Nairn's clean image. I can't understand why people still continue to flout the regulations and dispose of waste oils down manholes and I hope the toughest measures and highest fines possible are imposed on them to dissuade this practise in future. It is unacceptable and may cost Nairn our Blue Flag award in addition to extra costs to the public agencies for clearing up."
Alistair Duff, Senior Environmental Protection Officer for SEPA, said: "The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) encourages everyone to think about what they're putting down drains. During the bathing water season samples can fail to meet regulatory standards because of blockages in the sewer system. Even once the sewer is unblocked the effect of a failed sample will last the whole year and can deter the public from visiting it. SEPA would like to encourage local people to do their bit for the environment by disposing of their fats and oils appropriately."
WHAT PEOPLE IN NAIRN CAN DO TO HELP
- Report suspicious activity. Calls to Scottish Water or SEPA (Scottish Environment Protection Agency) can be made in confidence. If you see someone disposing of material into the drainage system, call as soon as possible. Scottish Water can be contacted on 0845 601 8855. SEPA can be contacted on 0800 80 70 60.
- Remember to put cooled grease from cooking in a 'Fat Trap' or other sealable container for disposal in the bin or for mixing with seeds and cereal to make a cake for garden birds. Catering businesses are advised to have large fat traps installed and can arrange for cooking oils to be taken away and converted into bio-fuel.
- Remember to 'Bag It And Bin It' in the bathroom if it's not a number one, number two or toilet paper. One of the major causes of sewer blockages is baby wipes. More details, including posters and leaflets that can be downloaded, are available at www.scottishwater.co.uk.
Jason Rose, Corporate Communications, Scottish Water, Tel: 01463 228603