At a meeting between Manx Utilities and the Commissioners on 23rd February an update on progress was provided and the organisation has issued a statement which confirmed much of the discussion that took place (please see details set out below). The Chair of Manx Utilities, Mr Rob Callister MHK, the Executive Director, and the Head of Sewerage were present to represent the organisation.

In addition to the statements made below the Commissioners have been advised by Manx Utilities that:

  1. Land has been acquired in the vicinity of Garwick Glen. Any of this land that is not required for pumping stations or sewage treatment installations, etc is likely to be sold following completion of works.
  2. The purchase of further land in another area is being negotiated (MU advise that they cannot announce the location of this land at the landowner’s request).
  3. Manx Utilities are considering several options including an option to ‘pump away’ from Laxey/Lonan to Meary Veg in Santon. They are also considering pumping to an (as yet unknown) site in Lonan from both the Cairns site (Lowest point of the Laxey sewage system) in Laxey and from the lowest point of the Lonan system at Garwick (see their statement below titled “’Garff’). Details and costings of other options will also be brought forward.
  4. Manx Utilities advise that it is DEFA who set the standards for emissions into the sea which they must meet. DEFA issue the licence and they advise that the sewage treatment undertaken “must reduce the particles of e-coli in a sample by a factor of a million”: this means that if there are 2 million particles prior to treatment to meet the standard there must only be 2 particles in the ‘treated’ sample.
  5. There are other ‘contaminants’ than e-coli that may be in the water and the Commissioners will be approaching DEFA for clarification of these and a range of matters.
  6. DEFA advise that a portion of e-coli in the Laxey & Lonan systems (which are combined sewage and storm water) is likely to contain animal waste run-off from the fields and hills. They also advise, however, that should the need arise, DNA testing can identify whether the source is human or animal; once this is established the source of any breach of their regulations can be focussed upon and directed action taken.
  7. MU advise that the ‘pump away’ option will require Tynwald to approve a change to the current Regional Treatment Sewage Treatment Policy and any changes to the budget requirements.
  8. MU have confirmed that public consultation and public meetings will take place one they publish the five options they are preparing.



Statements fromManx Utilities made in recent press releases and published on their website:


  • The project teams are on course to make recommendations to the MU Board by Friday 25th March 2022. Whole Life Costing exercises are being finalised and the conclusions of the studies compiled to determine the best way forward for both areas on a combined cost and quality basis.


  • The final phase of the sewage treatment strategy for the Island is focused on delivering first time sewage treatment for Laxey, Baldrine and Peel.  Options are being fully assessed for local treatment works’ locations as well as pump away solutions to establish a positive outcome as soon as possible.


  • A rigorous ‘coarse screening’ process has been completed scoring over 40 potential sites against criteria comprising:
  1. Adequate space
  2. Zoning/land use
  3. Proximity to residential areas
  4. Access
  5. Conservation/high landscape or coastal value and scenic significance
  6. Elevation/topography
  7. Ecological barriers
  • For each area the coarse screening exercise has led to the selection of a small number of options which are now being looked at in more detail in order to determine the preferred solution to take forward. A concept design (comprising site layout and pipeline routes) for each option has been created and a desktop environmental review has been completed (including carbon footprint calculations) to allow a further ‘fine screening’ assessment to be undertaken which adds a further level of rigour where the following criteria are being assessed in greater detail:
  1. Land use/zoning
  2. Future growth capacity
  3. Proximity to residential areas
  4. Environmental impact
  5. Carbon cost
  6. Access
  7. Complexity & deliverability
  8. Community opportunity & benefit
  • Each of the shortlisted sites and pump away solutions are being scored against the above and are then being costed with the ‘whole life costs’ developed over periods of 25 and 50 years.
  • The cost and quality scores will be combined on a 70:30 quality: cost ratio (also undergoing a sensitivity check at 50:50) to ensure the best solution is chosen, not necessarily the cheapest.
    This is one of the most comprehensive reviews of sites and solutions that Manx Utilities have undertaken and each site has to be considered individually and in some cases in combination.
  • This is subject to positive land owner engagement.  Once the preferred options have been agreed we will be able to confirm the delivery programme. We remain on course for completion of all works by the end of 2024.
  • Water Quality
  • The bathing water quality standards required for any solution proposed are defined by Tynwald and will be in accordance with parameters set by DEFA.  Manx Utilities are designing to achieve the ‘Good’ standard of the 2006 EU Bathing Water Directive as required by the Isle of Man’s Water Pollution (Bathing Water Standards and Objectives) Scheme 2021.
  • We are also investigating what may be required should this be changed to the ‘Excellent’ element of the standard in the future; this will ensure that there is nothing within the design that prohibits any enhancement required in the future should the local Commissioners decide that Blue Flag beach status is an aspiration they would like to work towards.
  • Blue flag status requires ‘Excellent’ bathing water quality along with the adoption of over 30 other environmental and hygiene/facility factors including control of dogs, provision of lifeguards and many other aspects which would need consideration by local Commissioners.  Water quality is only covered in four of the ‘blue flag’ criteria.  Further details can be found here:
  • The discharge of any flows into rivers is controlled by DEFA whom determine acceptability and appropriate parameters.
  • National Importance, Long Term View and Costing
  • Resolving the sewage treatment issue in the remaining catchments of Garff and Peel is a matter of national importance.  Manx Utilities has sought assistance from professional consulting engineers with a robust and extensive international reputation who are also very familiar with the Isle of Man, the existing sewerage infrastructure and the operation of local and central government.
  • Whole-life-cost Net Present Value or ‘NPV’ calculations over 25-year and 50-year periods have been developed.  These are pragmatic assessment periods that take into account the best estimates for the civil, mechanical and electrical engineering capital and operating expenditure for the solutions proposed.
  • Sewage pumping costs will be included in the NPV calculations for all options short-listed to ensure these are adequately assessed.  Cost sensitivity analysis is also forming part of these calculations to determine if any selection ranking is influenced by construction cost or power cost rises – as seen recently.
  • Electricity consumption for all solutions is based on all supplies being taken from future national infrastructure, ensuring it does not assume benefits which are unrealistic.
  • The impact of tankering sludge is being taken into full consideration in the selection process.
  • Designs will be based on the current and predicted Population Equivalent (PE) values for 2021 and 2050.  These values take into account current population and an assessment based on published regional plans to predict future demands.  Future expansion beyond the 2050 PE value will also be considered.


  • Five preferred options for local treatment are now under consideration with concept designs complete. This includes options for a combined works located between Laxey and Baldrine
  • Discussions with landowners have commenced to help determine the viability of each option
  • The pump to Meary Veg option is being reviewed with various pipeline routes being considered
  • The need for extension, replacement or relocation of the outfall pipes at Laxey and Baldrine for all solutions are being reviewed
  • Options for short term improvement have been investigated but none identified as offering significant benefit
  • Issues identified with the failed planning application for a works in Laxey will be considered prior to any further application being made for any site
  • Further public consultation will be undertaken prior to any planning applications being submitted