Scottish Water has confirmed it is building two new septic tanks in Aberdeenshire despite concerns for otters.
The company operates a public foul water treatment plant north of the River Don, which serves the village of Montagarrie, which is currently operating at full capacity.
Scottish Water has now sought full planning permission for the installation of two septic tanks with associated works including re-profiling of the riverbank and the resurfacing of the junction from Montgarrie Road at the Montgarrie Waste Water Treatment Works.
The structures would be mostly buried and built with concrete surrounds, which would be level with the existing flood bund.
Aberdeenshire Council approved the plans and stated: “The proposal is an identified essential need and would not increase any flood risk hazards, negatively impact the Special Protected landscape or any protected species, nor would increase the potential for pollution at the site.”
However, an ecological survey in June highlighted the potential to have European otters on site – a factor which the council has taken into account.
They have ordered a more detailed ecological study be conducted before work can start, “to ensure that the impact of the development is negligible to the local otter population” and have put a variety of caveats in place.
These state that trenches or trial pits more than 0.5m deep should be covered up to prevent animals, such as otters, falling in, and a plank should be used to cover them.
In addition, Scottish Water has been told that rubbish should be collected nightly and open pipes should be closed to prevent animals becoming trapped.