Borders MP John Lamont has expressed concern over the news that Scottish Water’s Hawick Wastewater Treatment Works accounted for over 75% of emergency sewage overflows in the Borders in 2021.
The statistic was revealed in response to a BBC freedom of information request. The request revealed that there were 121 emergency overflow incidences in the Borders in 2021, with 90 of them occurring at the Hawick Works.
Sewage overflows increased almost threefold between 2019 and 2021. This is in large part due to heavy rainfall in 2020 and 2021, and Scottish Water maintain that discharges only occur when authorised by the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA).
The Works are currently undergoing repairs which Scottish Water hope will reduce the incidences of discharges when complete.
Mr Lamont shares Scottish Water’s hope that this issue can be resolved, but stressed that time is of the essence considering the potential harm discharges can cause to the natural environment.
John Lamont MP said:
Figures surrounding sewage discharges into the Teviot from Hawick’s water treatment works are very concerning.
I understand that this is part of a Scotland-wide issue with sewage overflows. However, these statistics from the Borders underline the urgent need for the SNP-Green Government to get on top of this. That is why I wrote to the Scottish Government this week to highlight the problem we have been facing in Hawick.
The Scottish Government cannot be allowed to shirk their responsibility to protect our natural environment. In rivers like the Teviot where dogs can be seen swimming and children paddling in summer, there is also a public health risk that must be considered.
Rainfall is an unavoidable part of Scotland’s climate. Our water treatment systems must be able to cope with this, and it is disappointing that the Scottish Government would use this as an excuse for their woeful record on sewage discharge.
Even according to Scottish Government officials, Scotland is way behind England on this matter. We urgently need to see the SNP Government up their game, and take this issue more seriously.