Water expert calls for more green action from public sector



A surface water specialist is urging Scottish public and third sector organisations to use carbon-negative drainage systems on new construction projects.

Frank O’Donnell

Frank O’Donnell, The Surface Water Guy, insists organisations should take proactive steps to reduce their carbon footprints.

He said: “These bodies should embrace the need to deal with the surface water and sewage discharge on every site they are developing instead of looking for the short-term cheaper option.

“Cheap solutions like connecting to combined drainage system or local streams may take pressure off project managers but transfers associated problems to water authorities and landowners downstream.

“We are seeing issues just now where builders cannot get a connection to the main sewers because they are at capacity and it is only a matter of time before the capacity of storm drains are at a maximum.

“It’s simple to use a carbon negative system that involves drilling 12m down to ensure water is not trapped at the surface and can travel into multiple layers of soil to drain.

“I really don’t see why the organisations in these sectors are not insisting on this as a matter of course – questions need to be asked.”

The issue is not only the capacity of storm drains, this year the YMCA-run Gallatown Community Centre project in Kirkcaldy ground to a halt because there was not enough money in the budget to reach the nearest viable storm drains.

But using a sustainable drainage system was not only within budget it also attracted additional funding for the centre because of the carbon-negative nature of the solution.

Chief operating officer of Grampian Housing Association, Craig Stirrat, believes more sustainable solutions needed to be explored.

He said: “With climate change resulting in greater pressures on the capacity of our existing infrastructure it makes sense to consider more affordable, resilient and sustainable methods of dealing with surface water.”

Managing director of specialist procurement advisers Arfon Consulting Ltd, Alun Williams, added: “New Treasury sustainability disclosure requirements mean that large companies, certain financial investment products and even pension schemes will all be required to disclose their environmental impacts, and clearly set out their carbon reduction plans.  

“Achieving Net Zero by 2050 is a legal and moral imperative which will only be achieved by changing the way things have always been done as we transition to a more sustainable carbon free society.”



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