Restoration project to tackle pollution and overgrowth at Westhill park

The project will tackle pollution and overgrowth at popular Denman Park ponds.The project will tackle pollution and overgrowth at popular Denman Park ponds.
The project will tackle pollution and overgrowth at popular Denman Park ponds.
A project aimed at restoring and improving the quality of the ponds at Denman Park in Westhill and increasing and restoring habitat and biodiversity is gaining momentum.

A nature restoration initiative to restore the ponds is currently being designed and costed using Scottish Government funding, with Scottish Water and SEPA offering specialist advice.

The popular ponds in Denman Park are home to a wide variety of wildlife, but they’ve been subject to pollution from a range of sources in recent years and become overgrown with vegetation.

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Contaminants such as outdoor paints, home cleaning chemicals and garden chemicals such as herbicides, pesticides and fertilisers have been identified, with the drainage system also suffering from litter both from road drains and users of the park.

Following the reports of water pollution in the ponds at the park, Scottish Water began carrying out surveys of the Westhill surface water drainage network to establish the sources of this pollution.

It quickly identified the cause of the original pollution as a blockage in a combined inspection chamber where a blockage in the sewerage drain allowed polluted water to flow into the surface water drain causing the pollution of the ponds.

This blockage has been dealt with by Scottish Water but a reduced scale of pollution is still impacting upon the ponds and Scottish Water are undertaking further inspections of the Westhill surface water drainage network to establish where the other pollution sources are and to remove these pollution sources.

Aberdeenshire Council, meanwhile, continues to make site inspections to monitor the health of the ponds and to ensure that the polluted water warning signs remain in place.

It’s Head of Environment and Sustainability Services, Ewan Wallace, said: “If we are successful in gaining the funding for the roll-out of the project it will enable us to consult with conservation specialists to remove excess vegetation from the existing ponds and expand and remediate ponds where necessary.

"The spoil from the pond expansion will also be used to improve the landscaping in the areas around the ponds to optimise habitat for our native wildlife.”

A spokesperson for Scottish Water added: “Our teams attend and clear about 36,000 sewer blockages every year – the great majority caused by things like wet wipes and leftover fats, oil and grease.

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"In the area around the Denman Ponds, any blockage presents a risk of pollution of the ponds, harming their value for wildlife and for the local community’s enjoyment.

“We are continuing to work in partnership with Aberdeenshire Council to support improvement at the ponds and improve understanding of the sources of pollution.

"Everyone can play a part by binning and never flushing wet wipes and other unflushable items; as well as ensuring that nothing but rainwater is washed down surface water drains.”

If you wish to report a pollution incident visit