Water and Sewarage Authority spending questioned

MEARY VEG: Manager Bob Wright next to the treatment plant. Sewage was the subject of a series of questions in Tynwald from Onchan MHK Zac Hall (LibVan)

MEARY VEG: Manager Bob Wright next to the treatment plant. Sewage was the subject of a series of questions in Tynwald from Onchan MHK Zac Hall (LibVan)

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THE Water and Sewerage Authority’s project to refurbish nine pumping stations was again called into question in Tynwald.

The authority’s chairman, Graham Cregeen (Malew and Santon MHK), said the necessity of the project was shown earlier this month.

‘Whilst carrying out routine inspections at Majestic pump station in Onchan only last week on December 6, both pumps were found to have failed due to partial blockages and an electrical fault, resulting in sewage starting to overflow,’ he said.

‘As such, it is imperative that the authority has properly functioning mechanical and electrical equipment with up-to-date telemetry alarms which can alert the on-call staff to such an emergency occurring.’

Onchan MHK Zac Hall asked 12 questions on the work, which was approved by Tynwald at last month’s sitting.

The pumping stations due for refurbishment are between seven and 36 years old.

Mr Cregeen said: ‘The need for the refurbishment within each pumping station was on the basis of inspection, which identified the level of corrosion within each pumping station, the restrictions on the size and ability of the electrical control panels to incorporate the variable speed drives, the need to install telemetry alarms and control equipment, and any upgrading of the MEA electrical supplies.’

He said the pumps have never been replaced but that wearing parts, such as seals and bearings, will have been replaced over time.

There are about 92 pump blockages per month, caused by a number of reasons, including electrical faults.

‘Staff are always on call to deal with blockages and breakdowns,’ he said.

‘However, this depends on alarms being raised by the installed telemetry system.

‘Those remaining pump stations which do not have a telemetry system installed rely on inspection visits by operations staff to determine whether the pumps are working effectively.’

He confirmed that no pumps are being replaced as part of phase three of the contract.

Meanwhile, Mr Hall wanted to know how much sewage sludge was delivered each year over the last five years into Meary Veg Sewage Treatment Works, in Santon, by road tanker.

But Mr Cregeen said it was not measured.

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