Heavy rainfall blamed for poor bathing water quality in St Andrews

editorial image

Poor quality bathing water at West and East Sands over summer was a result of heavy rainfall, SEPA has confirmed.

Figures from SEPA showed that the water quality was low twice during the monitoring period, between June 1 and September 15, from the 15 samples taken. This occurred on July 24 and August 14 – both times the Kingdom was hit by heavy rain.

The agency said intense rainfall can affect bathing waters due to the contaminants that can be present in run off, flood water and sewer overflows, and that water quality can be reduced for up to 72 hours after heavy rain.

A moratorium on new developments in the town had been suggested.

“Regarding queries over the capacity of the St Andrews Wastewater Treatment Works, and its ability to accommodate new development, I’ve received confirmation from Scottish Water that a growth project has been initiated at the works, to support all proposed development in the Local Development Plan that would be located within its catchment,” said Councillor Brian Thomson.

“Asides from the growth project, it’s worth stressing that planning permission for a development does not guarantee a foul water drainage connection. Developers still need to apply for permission to connect to Scottish Water’s foul sewer network and, in instances where there is insufficient capacity, applications will be refused.

“It’s also important to recognise that new development should not contribute to the issue of pollution from combined sewer overflows. Apart from in very rare circumstances, for example a very small land-locked site in a town centre, Scottish Water will not now allow a surface water connection to a combined sewer, with surface water having to be treated via a sustainable urban drainage system before entering a water course at a controlled flow rate.”

Scottish Water said: “St Andrews Waste Water Treatment Work treats to an excellent standard and has an excellent compliance record.”