Pressure on a waste water treatment works in the Dee Valley Special Landscape Area has prompted the creation of a new £3.9 million plant.
Scottish Water has advised Aberdeenshire Council that the Banchory Wastewater Treatment Works is currently operating “at or very close to capacity”.
It also says that no new wastewater connections can be made.
In an application to the local authority’s planning department, Scottish Water also stresses that the existing plant would have to be increased to cope with future planned housing developments in the area.
With the site being constrained by surrounding development and natural features, the increase in capacity must come from replacing or increasing existing structures within the plant.
Works include demolition of the redundant aeration tanks, construction of a new biofilter, humus tank, GCS sludge holding tank, liquor return pumping station, washwater storage tank and kiosk and inlet works MCC kiosk and raising the height of the three existing biofilters.
In a supporting statement to Aberdeenshire Council, Scottish Water says: “Whilst some of the tanks are increasing slightly in height and the density of the development within the site is increasing, the nature and location of the site means that overall this change will not have a significant adverse impact on the qualifying interest of the Special Landscape Area.”
Construction is anticipated to start early next year, with the programme of works expected to take around 18-24 months to complete.
A Scottish Water spokesperson said: “The proposed scheme will improve the works to accommodate the growth of the community while continuing to protect the local environment.
“The value of the project is estimated at approximately £3.9 million.
“Subject to the outcome of the planning process, we will update residents about our plans and seek to keep any short-term disruption to a minimum while construction work takes place.”
Scottish Water is a statutory corporation that provides water and sewerage services across the country.