There will be no funding for a sewage treatment works in Peel until 2019.
Peel Commissioners received the bad news following a meeting with the Manx Utilities Authority to discuss the town’s sewage issues.
Manx Utilities also said that it envisages the feasibility study, which is examining suitable locations and types of sewage plant that could be sited in the town, to be completed this summer with a view to carrying out a public consultation on the findings later in the year.
Following the meeting, the Peel board’s chairman Ray Harmer said: ‘We had a useful meeting with Manx Utilities to discuss the current pumping of raw sewage into Peel Bay. It was agreed by everyone that raw sewage should not be pumped into Peel Bay.
‘Options to meet both 1976 and 2006 [EU bathing] standards are being examined. An environmental study will follow on the proposed solution early next year.
‘However at that point, there is no further available funding until 2019, which is when the detailed design and build can be carried out.’
He added: ‘Peel Commissioners will continue to press the government over the urgency of this matter, and insist that there should be no delay.’
Peel currently pumps out ‘untreated effluent’ into the bay, which has outraged residents and the commissioners, especially as they are required to pay the £50 ‘toilet tax’, when many locals say they have no sewage system to pay for.
There was further anger last week after our sister paper, the Manx Independent, featured a picture of ‘black sludge’ being pumped into the town’s bay as part of the harbour’s dredging exercise.
The ‘sludge’ is silt being dredged from the harbour via a pipe along the top of the quay and then dispersed from the end of the breakwater.
At the last public meeting of Peel Commissioners, many members of the board were scathing of Manx Utilities and are even considering having Peel’s water tested privately.
Christine Moughtin said at the meeting: ‘The photo in the paper was the worst bit of publicity we could have had.
‘We’re taking the stick for the department [of infrastructure] though. Surely they could have thought of some other way than openly pumping out that smelly horrible sludge.
‘No wonder people get their backs up.’
Jackie O’Halloran said: ‘I’ve no idea why they didn’t do it differently. We’re getting flack because of what they’re doing. We’ve got a silted up marina they spent a fortune on.’
David Lace was equally as scathing. He said: ‘The front of the Steam Packet brochure is Peel beach. One of the most beautiful places on the island and the government can’t get their act together, they’re pussy-footing around.’
Mrs Moughtin asked: ‘One government department does the testing. I’m not implying they might only give us what they want us to see, but could we as a board have it done privately?’
Eric Beale said that he thought a commercial water testing kit would cost around £600 and it was agreed by the board that the commissioners would look into purchasing one.