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New water works could havestoppedGlasgowbug

A CRYPTOSPORIDIUM outbreak in Glasgow this week could have been prevented if a new water treatment works had not been held up in the planning process, Scottish Water has claimed.

The existing Mugdock water treatment works at Milngavie, which supplies 140,000 people in Glasgow, is unable to filter out the potentially fatal cryptosporidium parvum parasite.

This is most often caught from the waste of young cattle or sheep.

Scottish Water identified this threat and filed an initial planning application for a new £100M treatment plant at Milngavie in 2000.

East Dunbartonshire planners have yet to approve the 250M litre/day capacity scheme.

Flash floods last week generated high levels of farm field runoff, increasing levels of the cryptosporidium parasite in the raw water supply.

When this increased presence was detected in treated water, the public was ordered to boil all tap water. The 216M/litres per day capacity plant was able to cope with the level of flow caused by the heavy rain but not the increased presence of the bacteria.

The existing plant treats the raw water supply by adding lime, phosphoric acid and chlorine.

This will reduce the level of lead, increase the pH value and kill most bacteria, but not cryptosporidium. Modern plants can almost entirely eliminate this bug through a process of coagulation and sand filtration.

Last week's heavy rain also caused an abandoned coal mine to swallow a large section of a Glasgow cemetery, killing one person. Engineers from the Coal Authority have been called to site to assess the mode of failure.

fiGlasgow is a heavily mined area and when subjected to this level of rainfall unstable shallow mines can collapse, fl said Babtie director Catriona Schmolke.

Buildings in potentially mined areas are scrutinised by the council but open spaces are less vigorously documented, she added.

Repair work on Scotland's rail network continued this week following damage caused by last week's heavy rain. This follows round the clock working over the weekend to try and restore services. Over 6.4km of rerailing will also have to be carried out on the Argyle line between Dalmarnock and Glasgow, meaning it will remain closed for the week.

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