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IRIS scheme helping to improve water quality at Douglas beaches 24 October 2006

One of the benefits of the IRIS scheme is fast becoming as clear as the water in Douglas Bay after each of its three beaches passed EU standards for the second year running.

Water at the beaches is regularly tested for cleanliness between April and October by the Government Laboratory and last year was the first time since testing began that all three beaches – Summerhill, Central and Broadway – had met the mandatory levels under the EU’s Bathing Water Directive.

And 2006 has seen the water quality improve even further, with the majority of samples from all three Douglas beaches rated as ‘excellent’ and the others rated as ‘good’, with Summerhill and Central each seeing just one test out of 20 failing to meet the required standard.

Transport Minister Hon Phil Braidwood says:

‘In the past, individual sections of Douglas Bay had achieved the EC mandatory standard, but 2005 was the first year that all three beaches reached the mandatory standard.
‘The figures for 2006 show an overall improvement for Douglas, and indeed for many other beaches around the Island. Indeed, if you look at the beaches from Douglas through to Port St Mary, they have all recorded good results for this year, in particular Port Soderick and Derbyhaven, which both passed the more stringent EC guideline standards of having 80 per cent of the test results as “excellent”.’

Mr Braidwood adds:

‘Meary Veg sewage treatment plant currently receives flow from 67 per cent of the Island’s population and the treatment processes are producing a very good standard of treated effluent. As a result of the introduction of the IRIS scheme, we are now beginning to see the benefits to bathing water quality around the Island, which is especially pleasing for the Island’s capital, Douglas, which obviously accommodates the largest population.’

Tourism and Leisure Minister Hon David Cretney says:

‘I am delighted that all three of our Douglas beaches have passed EU standards for the second year running. This is a fantastic achievement and both residents and visitors to the Island can now enjoy the beauty of these beaches in a clean and healthy environment. It illustrates the advantages of the IRIS scheme which I am sure we will continue to benefit from in the future.’

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