Among the numerous delays during construction of the £550 million Aberdeen bypass were on-going problems with run-off polluting the surrounding tributaries of the rivers Dee and Don. SEPA issued its first notice in January 2016 to enforce a clean-up, but by June of that year heavy downpours had overwhelmed the contractors’ safeguards, forcing the environmental protection agency to call a halt to construction.
Work resumed a few weeks later but these issues persisted until a low-profile firm from Ayrshire came on board with a different approach to the dilemma.
Headed by Iain Lindsay, Taytech Environmental specialises in wastewater treatment and has a wide customer base throughout the UK. It also has a growing presence in the construction market, which accounted for about 20% of its £4.6m of revenues generated during the year to March.
The typical approach to filtering out clay and fine silts dislodged during groundworks is to dig a sediment trap – what effectively looks like a lagoon – where flocculants are added to the collected water. Flocculants promote the clumping of fine particles into a larger mass that more quickly settles to the bottom, allowing clean water to be drained off the top.
Most flocculants are based on aluminium or iron, but because of its proximity to two of Scotland’s most important salmon rivers, this was not acceptable in the case of the Aberdeen bypass. Taytech instead used QP-33, a vegetable-based flocculate whose molecular weight has been increased to maximise its efficiency.
It’s still a chemical solution, which might seem at odds for a company using “environmental” as part of its moniker. But as Mr Lindsay explains, Taytech’s core purpose is to provide clients with the lightest-touch chemical solutions possible, leading to the best environmental result.
“Selecting the precise chemical solution and then controlling and measuring the results is a highly-specialised process – that’s why we are a technical business and employ a high percentage of graduate scientists,” he said.
Mr Lindsay joined Taytech in 2014 after nearly 20 years of working as a chemist in the rubber and paper industries. Having taken over the top job from Taytech founder Michael Taylor, Mr Lindsay is now eyeing up new growth opportunities and possible international expansion.
Raised in East Kilbride, he earned his degree from what was then Paisley College before joining EniChem Elastomers in Grangemouth in 1985. He transferred to the paper industry 13 years later when he went to work for Finnish-owned UPM Caledonian Paper in Irvine.
Paper mills have large water treatment systems, and it was during this time that he met Mr Taylor, who was then working for one Caledonian Paper’s suppliers. Mr Taylor went on to…