BORDERS MSP Rachael Hamilton visited Scottish Water’s wastewater treatment plant in Galashiels recently after a number of concerned constituents contacted her about sewage harming the biodiversity of the Tweed.

And she has urged the public to only flush items which are designed to be flushed.

Managers and staff of the plant discussed the handling of wastewater in the Borders and informed Ms Hamilton about how overflows into the Tweed catchment are managed and explained its plans to increase the number of monitoring stations to measure the outflows.

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Ms Hamilton has been campaigning in Holyrood and across the Borders to ensure salmon stocks are protected in the Tweed and was keen to find out if there was any interaction between the sewage site and the river and any potential knock-on effects for the river’s biodiversity.

Ms Hamilton said: “I was pleased to visit Scottish Water’s Galashiels site to talk with them about the problem of sewage outflow into the Tweed after a number of constituents contacted me regarding this important issue.

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“It is vital that we protect our salmon stocks and biodiversity, and one way to do this is by mitigating the impact that sewage can cause on local wildlife and keeping our rivers pollution-free. I am clear that there is so much more that can be done to reduce the harm of wastewater on our rivers.

“I also saw first-hand the scale of the issue of items being wrongly flushed down the toilet, which are screened out at the front end of the works.

It is vital that everyone at home also plays their part in protecting our rivers and their biodiversity by only flushing items which are designed to be flushed.

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"Constituents have raised concerns with me about sewage being released after heavy rain. I wanted to hear from Scottish Water and make sure they have plans in place in the Borders to monitor the situation during heavy rains and keep overflows to an absolute minimum.

“I am grateful to Scottish Water for showing me around their Galashiels site and showing me what they do to make sure that any interaction with the Tweed from the treatment works is kept to an absolute minimum."

Scott Fraser, Scottish Water's Corporate Affairs Regional Manager for the Borders, said:

“We were delighted to give Rachael a tour of our treatment works in Galashiels and to demonstrate how we treat wastewater every day and safely return it to the environment.

“Scotland’s rivers are in good health, and we want to play our part in keeping them that way. We have invested £2.7 billion in improving and maintaining the country’s drainage system and infrastructure over the past decade.

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“We understand concerns being expressed regarding overflows and we continue to invest in improvements to the system to meet and adapt to the pressures from our changing climate.”