Dredging in Peel is under way with a new pipe set to pump out silt from the harbour.
Some work has already taken place by the Laxey Towing Company Limited, of North Quay in Douglas, but the Harbours Division will start work soon.
Chris Clark, of the Harbours Division, said: ‘It has been agreed with the Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture (DEFA) that we can dredge Peel harbour this year using a combination of our dredger, the “May Queen”, and grab-dredging into a barge, with the material then taken and dumped at sea, which Laxey Towing Company has started.
‘The “May Queen” dredger is a cutter/suction dredger, basically it is similar to an old fashioned lawn mower: it cuts into the mud/silt on the harbour bed, this is then sucked into the pipe and pumped to a position outside the inner harbour.
‘The composition of the pumped material will be largely water with a percentage of silt depending on the type of sediment we are dealing with.
‘The material will then be pumped to the very seaward end of the breakwater, approximately 900 metres, to ensure any sediment is taken out to sea by the tide.
‘The pipe presently down by the harbour will remain where it is and then continue along the harbour wall to the end of the breakwater.
‘To help pump over this distance we will have an additional pump situated somewhere in the vicinity of the castle.
‘As the sediment taken out of the harbour is largely water, it can’t be put into the barge, as it would just run through the bottom.’
Mr Clark says that this is the present plan, but that it may change once all the pipe work is in place.
He went on: ‘The present delay in starting our dredging is the difficulty of obtaining the pipe, apparently due to the flooding in the UK.
‘As the dredger is new to us it will be a learning curve, however in our tests over a shorter distance it appears to work well.’
Director of ports Ann Reynolds said: ‘The dredging will be done by using the two methods - we will be moving around 4,000 tonnes using the grab dredging method and the other 6,000 tonnes will be dredged using the “May Queen”, which will then pipe the silt over the breakwater on an ebb tide.’
Mrs Reynolds says that the work will be completed by the end of May.