Dumped cars pulled from Scottish reservoir

Dive team roping up dumped cars. Image: Scottish Water

A delicate operation to remove nine old bangers which had been dumped in a Scottish reservoir has been hailed a huge success.

A 38-year-old Vauxhall Carlton, a 35-year-old Vauxhall Astra and a 34-year-old Nissan Prairie were among the haul lifted out of the Lower Glen Dam Reservoir in Gleniffer Braes Country Park, Paisley.

While the reservoir has never been used for the supply of drinking water, local residents had raised their concerns when the cars were uncovered during the dry weather last year.

The team carried out the removal with military-style precision – in an operational first for Scottish Water. The process required meticulous planning and close liaison with the Scottish Environment Protection Agency, Police Scotland and the Ayrshire Rivers Trust.

Scottish Water is now refilling the reservoir to its original level, while continuing to test water quality to ensure there are no issues.

"Attention now turns to getting things in the park back to normal. Mother Nature will take its course and the people of Paisley can again enjoy this space.”

Gerry O’Hara, Scottish Water

Gerry O’Hara, Scottish Water project manager, said: "This tricky operation was months in the planning to ensure every little detail had been thought of and that we got it right.

"Protecting the environment, the safety of the twenty-strong team on site and the park-users was paramount for us. As a result of everyone’s hard work and the meticulous planning and safeguarding that went into this operation, we’re absolutely delighted that the nine vehicles have been successfully recovered.

“Our attention now turns to getting things in the park back to normal for everyone. Mother Nature will take its course and the people of Paisley can once again enjoy this space in a safe manner.”

Environmental measures

In the run-up to removal day, the water level of the reservoir was gradually lowered daily to bring it to a workable level that would help mitigate for any possible environmental impact. Measures put in place to help avoid environmental impact, included a fish rescue carried out by Ayrshire Rivers Trust, while booms were positioned to help soak up any potential contaminants.

Once the reservoir was at a safe level, specialist divers entered the boggy basin to pre-sling the cars before they were winched from the mud and silt by a recovery truck.

Old bangers

It took just one day for the nine vehicles to be towed out. They were washed down, inspected by local police and then transported off site – headed for the scrapyard.

It is believed that the illegally dumped cars could have been submerged in the water at Lower Glen Dam since around the 1990s. A new gate has now been installed in the park to prevent similar incidents happening again.

Image: Scottish Water