£30K fountain makeover results in a ‘dribble’


A COUNCIL spent £30,000 renovating a fountain which will be restricted to a “dribble” amid health and safety fears.

The Whyte-Melville Fountain, based in the heart of St Andrews, Fife, has been without running water for more than 80 years.

But following the expensive makeover it has emerged there will be more of a trickle than a gush.

There are fears that the fountain could become a breeding ground for legionnaires disease which could infect locals, including students who fancied a quick dip.

Councillors from ‘the home of golf’ have questioned the cautious move, asking if the disease is really “an issue”.

Almost £19,000 was donated by the Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews and the Pilgrims Foundation. Fife Council invested an additional £10,000 on underground tanks, reservoirs and pipework.

Work to upgrade the 133-year-old icon will start in around eight weeks and is due to be officially up and running next year.

The fountain – which will be maintained by Fife Council – was built two years after the death of Major George J Melville in memory of the novelist and poet.

Questions have been raised over health and safety fears by Council officials who have asked if there is really a danger of disease.

Councillor Elizabeth Riches said: “How can you visit fountains in other cities across the world and it doesn’t seem to be an issue?

“Does legionnaires’ disease act differently in other countries?”

And fellow official, agreed with her colleague.

Dorothea Morrison said: “I gather the water is going to be more of a drip than a gush.”

She added that during the town’s annual Raisin Week – where fledgling student’s participate in binge drinking sessions – there had been a lot of “activity” around the fountain,

She added: “We’ll need to make sure that in future there are not people splashing around in the fountain.”

Fife Council have carried out a thorough risk assessment, which included details of preventing legionnaires disease.

The bacteria causes a severe lung infection after breathing in contaminated droplets of water and thrives in temperatures between 20 degrees and 40 degrees celsius.

It is commonly found in sources of water, such as rivers and lakes however the bacteria can multiply rapidly, spreading the disease.

The bacteria can be carried in spray droplets and so by reducing the water pressure, the level of mist is reduced.

A sterilisation unit will also be built in to ensure water cleanliness.

Lead campaigner and former Liberal Democrat councillor, Bill Sangster, said: ““It is proposed that the fountain is to be fully automated and to be sensitive to high winds, with a daily operational timer fitted.

“Water is to be filtered and will be maintained to health and safety standards. It will operate on a seasonal programme and be maintained by Fife Council.”