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£60,000 funding campaign to be launched to bring ancient well back into use

George Park looking at old pictures of the water tower with the pumping station in foreground.
George Park looking at old pictures of the water tower with the pumping station in foreground.

A £60,000 funding campaign will be launched imminently in a bid to bring an ancient well back into use in Angus.

Until 1908 the Nolt Loan Well provided Arbroath with its only public water supply and Keptie Friends want to bring it back into use to curb the algae problem that blights Keptie Pond every year.

The next stage of the project involves soil sampling to determine suitability for recycling the contents of the well around the park before a costing and timing schedule is decided upon.

That will determine whether the material can be used to level the park, or should be taken off site.

This will also serve to let volunteers see the quality of the brickwork below the concrete rim.

Crowdfunding looks likely to achieve the £60,000 which already has a starting pot of £5,000 following Tesco Bags of Help money and a generous donation from a local resident.

Volunteer George Park said: “The water in the pond is currently quite shallow, averaging around 600mm or two feet, and as a result the temperature fluctuates quite dramatically.

“The decaying vegetation, bird and fish droppings, and decomposing uneaten food cause the water to be nutrient enriched.

“Warm, nutrient enriched water provides ideal conditions for blue/green algae, and it is the blue /green algae which is more the problem than the visual appearance, which changes from clear to green to red to brown, dependant upon the weather.

“When we fill the pond to capacity, the nutrient level will be diluted, and the increased quantity of water will take longer to warm.

“The area around the boat pier is relatively unaffected by discolouration, but the outlet pipe from the borehole, which sometimes delivers a little water, is located there, reducing the local temperature.

“Along with providing a water supply from the well, it was also recommended by the consultants that we install a re-circulation pump and pipework, along with a compressor and oxygenation pipeline.

“Ideally, all of the works should be undertaken concurrently, but that will be dependant upon the funding available.

“It might be necessary to phase the works.”

The pond leaks at an average of 22,000 gallons per day and when water levels are low in summer water temperatures rise and when high nutrient levels are present algae flourishes.

The problem is tackled by diluting nutrient levels by maintaining a high water level and a throughput of fresh water.

However mains water comes at an unsustainable cost.

A first well was sunk in 1870 at what is now the junction of Rose Street and Roseberry Place before a decision was taken to stop digging and to erect a 6,000 gallon tank and support structure.

A second well was sunk at what is now the entrance to the park at Keptie Pond, linked by a tunnel to a second, similar, well at what is now the junction of Warslap Avenue and Inchcape Road.

The pumping station was built over the Nolt Loan well and the water was pumped to the new water tower on the top of Keptie Hill.

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