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Response to Douglas councillors' concerns about IRIS sludge pellets 29 January 2007

The Department of Transport has responded to concerns voiced by Douglas Councillors over the use of sludge pellets from Meary Veg Sewage Plant.

At a Council meeting earlier this month, Councillors were told the pellets could be put on fairways, along with other materials, to help build the fairway up over a period of time.

The Council’s Parks Superintendent explained the pellets had been treated and would improve the quality and condition of the fairway at a reasonable cost.

However, some Councillors questioned whether the pellets are safe and whether they would create a smell on the golf course.

In a letter to Douglas Corporation Chief Executive and Town Clerk David King, IRIS Operations Manager Bob Wright said the views expressed at the meeting were the result of ‘misinformation on the subject’.

He said the pellets given to Douglas Council to trial were actually the seed sludge that the contractor Lagan Construction used to start up the operation at Meary Veg. Similarly the material produced at Meary Veg is treated to a standard of ‘Advanced’ or ‘Enhanced’ Treatment, as defined under the ‘Safe Sludge Matrix’.

Accordingly, this can be considered ‘safe’. Although subjective, the enhanced treated pellets have very little discernable odour.

The Department concurs with the Chairman of Douglas Council’s Leisure Services Committee that this product should be given a chance as it would be beneficial to the ground and grass on the fairway.

‘It is a long established practice in the UK and Europe to utilise the nutrient value of dried sewage sludge for agricultural and horticultural purposes,’ explained Mr Wright.
‘Sludge pellets have a variety of benefits as a soil conditioner as it is a slow release fertiliser giving a valuable addition of nitrogen, phosphate and potash together with high humus content that is particularly beneficial to poor quality soils.’

Mr Wright has invited Councillors and Corporation staff to discuss these issues with him or to visit the Meary Veg plant.

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