Manx Utilities is to ask Tynwald to approve spending £40.5m of taxpayers’ money to build sewage treatment works in Peel and Garff.
This article has been updated to correct a mistake around the use of the Glen Garwick Estate.
The budget for the new proposals is £16.9m higher than the previous budget of £23.5m.
As well as ending the dumping of raw sewage into two of the island’s favourite beaches, some if the cash would be put towards an enhanced receiving plant at Meary Veg.
For Garff, Manx Utilities , which is chaired by Onchan MHK Rob Callister, has on our behalf, bought the Glen Garwick Estate. It is here that it intends to collate sewage from Laxey and Baldrine before sending it for treatment with the final effluent being sent back down the existing outfall pipe at Laxey.
This comes after a rejection of the original plan to build a treatment site at the Cairn site adjacent to Laxey harbour. This proposal faced major opposition from locals and was eventually rejected by the planning committee.
The pressure group Best 4 Laxey Bay continue to argue that pumping to Meary Veg is the most environmental and economically sensible solution, although this is disputed by Manx Utilities.
The group is calling on the Tynwald Environmental and Infrastructure Policy Review Committee, chaired by Rob Mercer MLC, to investigate the latest plans.
For Peel, the proposal to use the Glenfaba House site was rejected by the planning inspector, although only after the house was controversially demolished.
The new site, which Manx Utilities still has not identified, would be used to allow the authority to pump sewage away from Peel Promenade to an alternative site ‘within the Peel Town boundary’. As with Garff and Laxey, the exiting out pipe would still be used to discharge treated effluent.
However, if this plan is to go ahead, Manx Utilities says it needs to buy more land. It then plans to sell the Glenfaba House site.
If these sites are chosen, approved and built, then Manx Utilities will still need to visit them to collect ‘sludge’ (sewage) in tankers and take them to the IRIS infrastructure at Meary Veg. Best 4 Laxey Bay oppose this too as they don’t want diesel tankers travelling on narrow country roads everyday back and forth to Meary Veg.
In its response to this, Manx Utilities has said that diesel will be phased out as green tankers are being tested in the UK. However, it could be argued, that this does sort of miss the point about tankers using country roads everyday to remove the sewage from these regional sites.
Either way, IF this scheme does ahead as planned, then that sewage sludge will need to be taken to Meary Veg and Manx Utilities say that will require £750,000 of modifications. That £750,000 is included in the authority’s bid for £40,050,000.