A local MHK has raised questions about the proposal for a new sewage treatment plant in Garff.

Manx Utilities, a state-owned authority, earlier this week said it wanted to build a new sewage treatment plant for the area in the Axnfell Plantation.

It plans to pump the sewage from pumping stations located at the Cairn and Glen Garwick and up to the new Axnfell Plantation treatment centre, where it will then be filtered out through the existing pipeline and into the Irish Sea.

Daphne Caine MHK - (Dave Kneale/Isle of Man Newspapers)

Garff MHK Daphne Caine said: ‘Pumping sewage so far up the valley seems counter-intuitive and goes against the natural laws of physics, even acknowledging Manx Utilities’ assertion this height will allow 60% of the electricity required to be generated via a turbine at the Cairn site, where the treated effluent will enter the sea outfall.

‘They emphatically will not consider pumping the raw sewage a few miles further on to Onchan from Baldrine to join the all-island IRIS scheme, which is puzzling given the required additional engineering to use the Axnfell location, plus the need for daily wagons to collect solids.’

A site at Axnfell plantation being considered for a water treatment plant

The announcement is the latest in a long line of developments on the topic of sewage works across the island.

Manx Utilities previously attempted to construct sewage works nearer to Laxey Harbour but was denied at the planning application phase.

This plan was met with lots of resistance from a local community group, Best 4 Laxey Bay (B4LB).

Alan Clague

Alan Clague, member of the B4LB, group, said: ‘It is pleasing to see that the MUA has acknowledged the urgency to get this treatment of both Baldrine and Laxey outfalls underway.

‘When the group met just last month, a majority felt that the civil works, pumping and disruption for these pipelines would be similar, or indeed more intrusive than connecting both villages up to the pre-existing and planned IRIS connection on the Onchan coast road.

‘It is appreciated that there could be fundamental design reasons why this connection cannot be made at the current time, but this should still be explored and any alleged shortfalls at Meary Veg [the sewage plant in Santon] and supporting infrastructure in central Douglas, be corrected to accommodate the increased load of the Garff catchment area.’

The island’s provider of water, electricity and sewage treatment also suffered troubles in the west of the island as Manx Utilities’ plans for sewage works at Glenfaba House near the Raggatt, south of Peel and in the parish of Patrick, were halted.

It now plans to build between Glenfaba Road and the River Neb.

A spokesperson for Manx Utilities said: ‘The next step will be to finalise pipeline routes and intermediate pumping station locations and to speak with those landowners who will be impacted before publicly releasing that information.

‘In parallel, geotechnical investigations will be undertaken at key locations to inform the design.’

Mrs Caine said: ‘The majority of people just want to see an end to pumping raw sewage into our seas at Laxey beach but as a Biosphere we need to be confident we have the best, most affordable long-term solution. More details are required.’

A public exhibition of Manx Utilities’ plans for the Axnfell Plantation will take place in ‘late summer’.

Mrs Caine continued: ‘There’s a lot of work needed to have any scheme operating by 2026 and I look forward to the full details being presented to the public later this year when MU have finalised the pumping route.’

Garff Commissioners held a meeting about the proposals earlier this week. Click here to read more.