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Tendering underway for Scotland's largest wastewater tunnel

Scottish Water is currently undertaking a tendering exercise for a 5km-long wastewater tunnel in the south of Glasgow. The publicly-owned utility is to construct a sewer tunnel running between Queen's Park and Craigton industrial estate via Pollok and Bellahouston parks.

Map showing the intended route of Glasgow’s Shieldhall tunnelMap showing the intended route of Glasgow’s Shieldhall tunnel

The £100M tunnel, which will be the biggest stormwater storage tunnel in Scotland, will resolve water quality and reduce flooding issues at key locations in the area served by the Shieldhall wastewater treatment works (WwTW).

It is anticipated that a contractor for the design and construction work will be appointed in spring 2014.

It will be a major part of Scottish Water’s £250M, five-year programme of work to upgrade the wastewater network in the Glasgow area, which was announced in February. The utility says the tunnel is the biggest investment in the network since Victorian times.

The upgrade will improve river water quality and the natural environment of the River Clyde and its tributaries. It will also alleviate sewer flooding and deal with the effects of increased rainfall and climate change.

The tunnel will be 4.65m in diameter and more than five times as long as the Clyde Tunnel. Work is expected to start in mid-2014 and take three and a half years to complete, including preparatory work, mine working consolidation and utility diversion work.

Geoff Aitkenhead, Scottish Water’s asset management director, said: “Following the launch in February of our five-year programme of investment to transform the Greater Glasgow area’s wastewater infrastructure, we are delighted to be able to confirm this key part of the programme.

“The Shieldhall tunnel will resolve large-scale water quality problems in the River Clyde and its tributaries, provide aesthetic screening to overflows into watercourses such as tributaries of the Clyde and White Cart Water and reduce the risk of flooding in Aikenhead Road and Curtis Avenue in Mount Florida and Robslee Drive, Robslee Road, Robslee Crescent and Orchard Park Avenue in Giffnock.

“The tunnel will increase capacity and alleviate pressure on the existing network by providing additional storm water storage.”

Welcoming Scottish Water’s announcement, Scotland’s deputy first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, cabinet secretary for infrastructure, investment & cities, said, "The improvement of Glasgow's sewerage network is essential to its future economic growth, a cleaner environment and to resolve long-standing flooding issues. 

"Investment such as this ensures that Scottish Water can continue to deliver excellent services to the people of Scotland. Scottish Water is providing one of the best value-for-money water and sewerage packages in the UK, to the continuing benefit of households and businesses throughout Scotland."

David Sigsworth, chairman of the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), said: “The construction of the new wastewater tunnel is an important part of plans to improve the natural environment of the River Clyde and alleviate sewer flooding in Glasgow. We have worked closely with Scottish Water to support the development of the long-term strategy for the Clyde catchment and look forward to further sustainable growth for the Greater Glasgow area in the coming years as the plans are implemented.”

The new wastewater tunnel will transfer combined sewer flows of surface water such as rainfall and wastewater from properties and provide storm storage of heavy rainfall.

It will be constructed using a tunnel-boring machine, which will follow a route from the Queen’s Park area towards Pollok Park. The tunnel will head northwards under Pollok Park and beneath the M77 and then beneath Bellahouston Park, terminating at Craigton industrial estate where it will join the existing network and where wastewater will flow onwards to Shieldhall WwTW.

Scottish Water’s investment in the tunnel, and the overall environmental improvement scheme, follows years of collaboration and studies by the Metropolitan Glasgow Strategic Drainage Partnership (MGSDP), which includes Scottish Water, SEPA and local authorities such as Glasgow City Council.

The tunnel route was carefully selected to minimise disruption across the city. Scottish Water says that as most of the work is underground, the vast majority of people will be unaffected by it. However, an extensive community engagement plan is under way in communities which will be affected during construction.

Mark Maclaren, Scottish Water’s regional community manager, said: “We anticipate there will be some impact on certain areas during the construction work but the vast majority of this work will be underground and out of sight. Scottish Water and its chosen contractor will work with all residents and impacted parties to help minimise disruption while this essential work is carried out.”

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