Isle of Man Friends of the Earth: Water Quality campaign.
Clean Healthy Environment, Every River & Sea – CHEERS!
For a small population we have a fairly robust and sophisticated monitoring of freshwater quality. Whilst we and all other concerned bodies need to keep an eye on continuing issues such as mine spoil run-off, agricultural pollution, river flow etc., there doesn’t appear to be a major gaping hole in the system.
However, we have major concerns over the state of the sea and bathing water in many Island sites, as we continue to discharge untreated effluent through outfalls. This directly impacts on leisure use of our beaches and inshore waters, as well as introducing faecal and other contaminants into the wider marine environment. We are concerned that currently bathing water quality is assessed against very outdated criteria, ie those in the EU Bathing Water Directive 1976. This has been superseded by the 2006 Directive, which is surely the benchmark we should measure our waters against.
We have IRIS, Meary Veg, and now a regional treatment strategy for the rest of the Island. The smaller Sewage Treatment Works (STWs) around the northern half of the Island have been upgraded, and extra capacity to deal with the sludge added to Meary Veg. Plans and finance for a large STW north of Ramsey have been passed by Tynwald, and work is hoped to be completed by spring 2017. However as yet there no agreed plans to deal with raw sewage from Peel and Laxey. Whilst not underestimating the complexity and scale of the challenges, Friends of the Earth would urge the Chief Minister and the Council of Ministers :
a) to support management and technical staff of the Manx Utilities Authority in putting an end to the discharge of raw sewage from anywhere in the Island
b) to guarantee a full debate in Tynwald on the need to adopt the 2006 water quality standards.
There would be benefits for all if the Island were to be recognised as a clean place to live, work and play.