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Westhill residents asked to check drain connections to protect much-loved Denman Park ponds


By David Porter

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Residents living near the Denman Park ponds in Westhill are being asked to check their drains to ensure harmful waste water is not damaging the environment.

Pond contamination in Westhill has prompted a call for residents to check their own drains.
Pond contamination in Westhill has prompted a call for residents to check their own drains.

Denman Park ponds receive their water from the rainwater drains in the adjacent areas of the town from Morvern Crescent near the golf course in the north to Westhill Drive in the east and Westwood Grove in the west.

However there have been occasions when the ponds have had cloudy water seeping in from unknown sources, prompting both SEPA and Scottish Water to work together to test and trace the manholes upstream of the ponds to try and establish where the wrong fluids have been poured down a rainwater drain and to prevent it happening again.

Aberdeenshire Council environment planner Steven Gray explains: “If you live in the middle section of Westhill then you can help improve the ponds’ water quality by checking that your rainwater drains which remove surface water are not connected to the foul/sewer drains which take bathroom and kitchen waste water.”

Likewise, people doing external painting, waterproofing or cleaning works must not pour the leftovers or the clean-up water into the kerbside road drains as this will flow into the ponds.

The ponds – which were dug out when the park was first established - are a much-loved attraction and regularly visited by Westhill residents, forming a boundary between the park and the local nature reserve Arnhall Moss a lowland mire.

The three ponds provide a home for a range of aquatic life ranging from micro-beasties such as freshwater hoglouse, pond skaters, water boatman, diving beetles and midgies, to minnows, pond snails, newts, caddisfly larvae, freshwater shrimp and frogs. Ducks, herons and numerous small birds also visit the ponds.

Aberdeenshire Ranger Service has been worked with Westhill Academy’s Biology Department where the ponds were used by the pupils for freshwater sampling as part of their course work.

Through their studies they identified and recorded findings and, by using an indicator chart, could work out the quality of the water.

Water quality indicators found that the majority of species found within the ponds only rated ‘fair’ category with one or two species falling into the other categories of ‘extremely good’, ‘good’ and ‘poor’.

Elrick Primary School pupils and teachers have also been working with the Ranger Service to create a Discovery Trail which features the ponds thanks to funding from TAQA.

To report any pollution of the ponds please contact SEPA via the pollution hotline number (0800 80 70 60) or by visiting www.sepa.org.uk



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