Community / New Eela Water treatment works in the pipeline – with early costs estimated at £45m

The current water treatment works near Ollaberry. Photo: Scottish Water

A NEW replacement water treatment facility is being planned for Northmavine – and early estimations place the potential cost at more than £45 million.

Scottish Water intends to replace the Eela Water facility, which was built in the 1970s near Ollaberry, with a new one on land nearby.

The existing facility can supply up to 4.3 millions of litres of water per day (Ml/d) to about 5,500 people, and it also serves Sullom Voe Terminal which accounts for 60 per cent of the overall demand.

The new water treatment works would have a greater capacity and provide a “long-term low carbon” solution, according to the utility, and it would mark a significant investment.

The indicative investment value at this stage is “above £45 million” but that is expected to be refined as the project progresses.

The new facility would still continue to treat water from current sources, the Eela Water and Roer Water lochs.


Scottish Water has now submitted an environmental impact assessment screening opinion request to Shetland Islands Council’s planning service for the development.

The report says the site would be nearly 20,000 square metres in size – around 5,000 square metres larger than the current facility.

It adds that the existing water treatment works would be assessed for part decommissioning when the new one is operational, with some above ground features likely to be removed.

The new site would accommodate a water treatment building, two new clear water storage tanks, a chemical storage building, raw water and backwash tanks, a shutdown lagoon and also various pipes, chambers and ancillary equipment.

The report adds: “The main impact from the proposal will be permanent habitat loss to an area less than 2ha, a subsequent change to land management within the site, and temporary construction disturbance from traffic, noise and activity.”

Become a supporter of Shetland News


Peat and construction environmental management plans are being drafted, and a preliminary ecology survey has been completed.

A spokesperson for Scottish Water told Shetland News: “Our Water Treatment Works (WTW) by Eela Water plays a vital role in supplying drinking water to around 5,500 customers in the north and west mainland, as well as a number of significant business and industrial sites.

“The existing plant has been serving local communities for 45 years; and we are preparing proposals for a new WTW which will ensure we can continue to supply clear and fresh drinking water to the area for decades to come.

“Plans remain at a relatively early stage, but the proposed new WTW would be a very significant investment in the future of Shetland’s drinking water supply.

“We look forward to engaging via the planning process, and with local communities, as we develop our plans further and prepare to apply for planning consent.”


Shetland North councillor Emma Macdonald said she was “very pleased” to see proposed investment from Scottish Water in the area.

“We often take things like water for granted but we shouldn’t underestimate the importance of such a significant investment to ensure we can continue to maintain our supply for future generations,” she said.

Become a supporter of Shetland News

Shetland News is asking its many readers to consider start paying for their dose of the latest local news delivered straight to their PC, tablet or mobile phone.

Journalism comes at a price and because that price is not being paid in today’s rapidly changing media world, most publishers - national and local - struggle financially despite very healthy audience figures.

Most online publishers have started charging for access to their websites, others have chosen a different route. Shetland News currently has  over 600 supporters  who are all making small voluntary financial contributions. All funds go towards covering our cost and improving the service further.

Your contribution will ensure Shetland News can: -

  • Bring you the headlines as they happen;
  • Stay editorially independent;
  • Give a voice to the community;
  • Grow site traffic further;
  • Research and publish more in-depth news, including more Shetland Lives features.

If you appreciate what we do and feel strongly about impartial local journalism, then please become a supporter of Shetland News by either making a single payment or monthly subscription.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.



Subscribe to a selection of different newsletters from Shetland News, varying from breaking news delivered on the minute, to a weekly round-up of the opinion posts. All delivered straight to your inbox.

Daily Briefing Newsletter Weekly Highlights Newsletter Opinion Newsletter Life in Shetland Newsletter

JavaScript Required

We're sorry, but Shetland News isn't fully functional without JavaScript enabled.
Head over to the help page for instructions on how to enable JavaScript on your browser.

Your Privacy

We use cookies on our site to improve your experience.
By using our service, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy.

Browser is out-of-date

Shetland News isn't fully functional with this version of .
Head over to the help page for instructions on updating your browser for more security, improved speed and the best overall experience on this site.

Interested in Notifications?

Get notifications from Shetland News for important and breaking news.
You can unsubscribe at any time.

Become a supporter of Shetland News

We're committed to ensuring everyone has equitable access to impartial, open and quality local journalism that benefits all residents.

By supporting Shetland News, you play a vital role in ensuring we remain a pivotal resource in supporting the community.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.