Manx Utilities has said it may consider pumping Laxey and Garff’s waste to Onchan in order to connect to the IRIS system, despite previously rejecting that proposal.
Raw sewage is currently pumped through pipes into the sea at Laxey.
MU is seeking suggestions for sites suitable for locating pumping stations between Laxey and Onchan or local treatment works for the handling of the sewage from Laxey and Baldrine. Following the establishment in November last year of the Garff Regional Sewerage Treatment Consultative Group which involves the local MHKs Martyn Perkins and Daphne Caine, two Garff Commissioners and representatives from local interest group Best for Laxey Bay, the Call For Sites has been refined and explains the options being considered in more detail.
Chairman, Tim Baker MHK said: ‘Having assessed the feedback from our previous applications in Peel and Garff we remain committed to moving forward in providing solutions that will bring an end to the disposal of raw sewage in both catchments. The ‘call for sites’ process for Garff will ensure that we have explored all possible site options available, in order to provide the best possible solution for the community.’
A previous application by MU for a site near Laxey harbour was rejected unanimously by the island’s planning committee after pressure from residents who raised concerns over smells from the site, tankers passing through the village daily and the unsightliness of the buildings. Some residents led the Pump Not Dump campaign calling for the sewage to be pumped under the MER tracks to Onchan to join the Iris system.
Iris, besides being a song by the Goo Goo Dolls and part of the eye, is the island’s bespoke sewage system which was originally dreamt up in 1992 to provide a singular all island system. However, while some parts of it work rather well, large parts of the island are not connected to the system, with MU moving towards backing regional sites. Although this has not been without controversy including the abandoned Laxey scheme and knocking down a mansion house in Peel for a site it intended to build there, only for that scheme also to be dropped.
Any proposed site should be within three miles from the coast. MU said it will consider alternatives to separate or combine local treatment options for Laxey and Baldrine and ‘the possibility of pumping into the existing Iris system in Onchan’. However a regional site does remain its preferred option.
Anyone with a site, which they have a controlling interest in and they would also have no objection to being made public, with MU can consider for pumping stations or treatment works.
A pumping site, which was favoured by residents in Laxey and Garff when plans for a treatment works near Laxey harbour were first suggested by MU, would be a small building of about 5m x 6m with a buried storage tank with up to 200m cubed capacity. It would be built to ‘blend in’ with its surroundings and would be accessed by a tanker four times a year and small vans for maintenance when required. Sites should be 50m x 50m with existing road access.
A treatment works would include two or three units which are buried semi-circular units about 6m in diameter and 25m long, with a control room and screening buildings along with other equipment. These would be disguised behind trees or something similar. Tanker access would be required one a day, as well as weekly screening collection vans and maintenance vehicles when required. A such would need to be 50m x 100m and include road access.
Anyone with such land, can contact The Project manager, Call for STW Sites, Manx Utilities, PO Box 177, Douglas or email firstname.lastname@example.org by 5pm on April 22.