Manx sea water is getting cleaner, according to statistics released today (Wednesday).
Every week between May and September sea water samples are taken from 19 popular beaches around the island and results are assessed against European bathing water standards.
Samples taken from local bathing beaches during the 2013 season have revealed some of the best results since monitoring started 24 years ago.
The Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture says that since sewage treatment improvements began under the IRIS scheme in 2004/5 the trend has been one of increasing improvements in bathing water quality resulting in a ‘significant’ increase in the number of beaches on the island complying with the EC Directive.
The most notable recent improvement has been at Jurby where the provision of a modern sewage treatment plant under the Regional Sewage Treatment Strategy has resulted in an ‘excellent’ standard pass for the first time on record.
The Water and Sewerage Authority is installing similar treatment plants in many other locations resulting in environmental improvements.
However, EC Directive failures were recorded at Peel, Kirk Michael and Ramsey, which are currently subject to untreated or partially treated sewage discharges into the sea, and following the trends described it is highly likely that these bathing waters could improve if sewage treatment is sanctioned, resulting in a lesser public health risk.
In addition to the work of the Water and Sewerage Authority, the directorate’s environment protection unit has investigated and facilitated improvements to unsatisfactory sewage discharges resulting in notable improvements at Port Grenaugh and Bay–ny-Carrickey (Gansey) beaches which this season both revealed the best results on record.
‘This is most encouraging,’ said Phil Gawne MHK, Minister for Environment, Food and Agriculture.
‘The investment in sewerage and sewage treatment is revealing real benefits to the public and the environment, it is important that these improvements continue to completion to realise the island’s tourism potential and help with our biosphere application.’
Results from the monitoring of the bathing waters are posted in display boxes at each of the 19 beaches and on the government laboratory website at this website.
The results are updated weekly throughout the summer season from May until September.