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Four Iris Scheme Proposals Before Tynwald For Approval 4 October 2007

Several aspects of the IRIS scheme, including a recommendation to develop regional treatment works in the north and west of the Island, will be considered by Tynwald this month.

The Department has completed its review of the future strategy for the IRIS master plan, which recommends developing regional treatment works in the north and west, with sewage from Laxey and Baldrine to be pumped to Meary Veg via Douglas as previously proposed.

Originally, the plan had been to link the rest of the Island to the Meary Veg Sewage Treatment Plant in Santon. However, the report highlights several areas where taking a regional approach would be advantageous. A regional treatment strategy has the potential of delivering the completed IRIS project three years ahead of the current strategy. It would also provide greater flexibility for the future treatment and disposal of sludge.

Peter Winstanley, Director of Drainage, explained:

‘Six options were considered for the west, with the preferred option being to upgrade the existing treatment works at Dalby and Patrick. The existing works at St John’s would be abandoned and sewage transferred to a new works proposed for Peel.
‘The preferred option for the north is to develop a regional works in Ramsey, with local treatment at Maughold, Booilushag and the Corony. A new treatment works would be built in Ramsey, with flows transferred from Jurby, Ballaugh and Kirk Michael to meet in Sulby, where a new transfer main would be laid to Ramsey. Sewage from Bride would be transferred via Andreas to Ramsey, and there would be new treatment plants on the existing sites at Maughold, the Corony and Booilushag.’

However, the Department recognises that before any significant investment is made, agreement must be reached on a sustainable long-term ‘sludge disposal strategy’, to be determined in conjunction with key Continues:- stakeholders, such as the Department of Local Government and the Environment, the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry and the Manx National Farmers’ Union. Developing a regional treatment strategy would, in comparison with the original all-Island system, save approximately £15 million in capital expenditure and £1.2 million in annual operating costs.

One of the environmental benefits of IRIS became apparent in October last year when water at each of Douglas Bay’s 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 2005 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.

The water quality improved even further in 2006, with the majority of samples from all three Douglas beaches rated as ‘excellent’ and the others rated as ‘good’.

Indeed, statistics for last year showed an overall improvement for many other beaches around the Island, particularly those from Douglas down to Port St Mary, including Port Soderick and Derbyhaven.

Supplementary vote to complete handover of Meary Veg Sewage Treatment plant

The Department is seeking approval to spend a further £6.5 million on the Meary Veg Sewage Treatment Plant to finalise its handover.

The original funding of £20 million was approved by Tynwald in June 2001 and while the site was ‘substantially’ handed over by the main contractor in October 2005 there were some elements that were not completed. These included the bio-solids dryer, which produces pasteurised pellets that can be recycled to farmland as a soil conditioner and the pumping equipment at the White Hoe and Loch Promenade pump stations.

The request for a supplementary vote of £6.5 million would cover additional costs incurred due to unforeseen conditions at site, delays and disruptions, commissioning costs and a conciliation settlement figure of £1.25 million reached with the contractor.

Proposed purchase of cottages at White Hoe

A further motion will see Tynwald asked to approve £2.5 million for the purchase of White Hoe and Ivy Cottages. This is the result of long-running problems with noise and vibrations experienced by nearby residents to the White Hoe pump station. Despite extensive monitoring and research, no technical solution to the problem was found and earlier this year an offer was made to the residents to buy their homes and relocate elsewhere. Negotiations are ongoing in an effort to reach an amicable agreement for the purchase of the properties.

Transmission Main

Also on the agenda is a motion to approve £1 million for the construction of the Mount Murray to Newtown transmission main and a pump station to replace the life-expired Mount Murray Sewage Treatment Plant.

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