Water Abstraction and Discharge Design

Location: Scotland                                                                                      Client: Multiple Distilleries


Existing distilleries are expanding production and many new distilleries are being developed. In turn, this leads to increased abstraction of water and also discharge, including the return of cooling water to nearby watercourses. Careful engineering design is required in order to achieve the abstraction or discharge while promoting environmental best practices. Recent examples are the Teaninich distillery, where a new abstraction was required, and the Cairn distillery where a new discharge was needed.


Abstraction at Teaninich

The distillery at Teaninich has increased in size and we were asked to review and assess the water supply. We undertook optioneering and the detailed design of the cooling water abstraction system from the River Alness. River water was abstracted using underbed wedge wire pipes. The abstracted water flowed under gravity to a pumping station on the river bank, which pumped the cooling water to the distillery’s holding tank. The system included flow meters and water level monitoring within the pump chamber. The work was completed as part of the new Teaninnch and Thistle distillery.

Discharge at the Cairn

The new Cairn distillery on Speyside required the design of a cooling water outfall to the River Spey. Cooling water is usually warmer than river temperature, so we conducted thermal modelling of the proposed discharge and River Spey. This was done to ensure compliance with regulatory guidance in an environmentally sensitive area. We then undertook a detailed design of the outfall, which was adapted to also include surface water, reducing outflow to the Spey to a single location. Separately from the outfall, we also assisted in groundwater pumping tests for cooling water abstraction, and detailed design of a surface water abstraction from a nearby burn.


Abstraction at Teaninich

The Alness River provides a much larger and reliable source of water than the smaller Contullich Burn, however, it is also used by another distillery. Work was carefully planned to avoid impact on other abstractions, the important salmon fishery and the low velocities in the below bed abstraction minimise any risk to salmon fishery. The water systems are isolated as there is a non-native plant within the Contullich system. The use of a below bed abstraction system, once installed, has a minimal environmental or visual impact on the watercourse.

Discharge at the Cairn

The use of thermal modelling allowed the possible effect of the discharge temperature upon river temperature to be investigated, and ultimately demonstrated that the proposal met regulatory standards. Careful design of the outfall itself allowed discharge to the Spey to be limited to one, rather than several, locations. By taking this approach the discharge was granted consent by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) under CAR (Water Environment Controlled Activities Scotland Regulations 2011).

Want to know more?

For more information about these projects please contact David Cameron.

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