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Pump station breakdown won’t be barrier to new housing

The Gulberwick pumping station. Photo: Shetland News

SCOTTISH Water has confirmed that new housing planned for Gulberwick will not be affected by the breakdown of the village’s pumping system last year.

There were fears that new connections would be under threat following irreparable problems with the station’s pumps.

But a spokesman for Scottish Water said the current system, which has reverted back to waste being taken by a road tanker instead of being pumped towards Lerwick, could accommodate new housing.

He reiterated, however, that a long-term resolution to the problem might only be found in years to come.

Scottish Water last week announced plans for a £10 million upgrade to facilities in Shetland, but the Gulberwick station was not included.

“Following the breakdown of the pumps at Gulberwick last year, our team identified that repair or replacement of the old pumps is not possible,” the spokesman said.

“Our local operational team was able to switch to using the previous arrangements that were in place for the area, with treatment being provided by septic tank; and sludge being removed for further processing by road tanker.

“SEPA has been kept updated and the arrangements are fully compliant with their requirements. We are also able to accommodate the connection of the new housing which is currently planned while operating the present treatment arrangements.

“We are engaging with SEPA, the local authority and developers to ensure we can identify a longer term solution that is robust and able to support further growth in the future. This will involve discussions with any affected landowners and the local community in the years ahead as we work through the planning process.”

Scottish Parliament election, 6 May 2021