Manx Utilities’ regional sewage treatment works do not currently have the capability to accurately record the frequency and volume of storm discharges, new Chairman Rob Callister MHK has said.

Mr Callister was asked, by Garff MHK Daphne Caine, how many spills have occurred at each regional sewage works during, and outside of, the last three bathing seasons.

The Onchan MHK explained that it has not been a historic requirement when the regional sewage works were designed, ‘with the key objective being to safely and efficiently comply with the discharge license parameters as set by DEFA’.

He added: ‘With increasing awareness of how storm overflows from sewerage infrastructure impact our marine and aquatic environment Manx Utilities are currently undertaking studies to determine the need for all known storm overflows within the sewerage network. It is the intention to remove those that are no longer necessary and ensure that the remaining discharges have minimal impact on the environment and the ability to monitor and record performance.

‘Our larger pumping stations built as part of the IRIS scheme already have the capability to record and monitor the duration of storm overflows. Work is ongoing to enhance these facilities to enable the recording of volumes in addition to duration, which will allow us to further assess the impact on the environment of overflows from these stations.’


One exception to this rule is Ballaugh treatment works where Manx Utilities did include specific apparatus that does enable monitoring of storm overflows in ‘anticipation of the heightened sensitivity around storm discharges’.

Mr Callister said: ‘There have been four storm discharges in the year to date, none of which were during the bathing season. The design for all future treatment works and pumping stations will also include for the monitoring of storm discharges.’

Earlier this year, Manx Utilities completed a £3m upgrade of the 1950s sewerage treatment works in Ballaugh with the new works designed to treat waste water in the village to a standard specified by DEFA.

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