Bathing water quality
Bathing water has routinely been monitored around the island at 20 beaches for total coliforms, E.coli and intestinal enterococci. E.coli and intestinal enterococci are a requirement under the EU 2006 Bathing Water Directive and will be used for future monitoring.
Bathing water sampling will be undertaken by the Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture on a weekly basis at designated bathing waters and a 4 weekly basis at non designated locations. The bathing season runs for 20 weeks from 1 May to 18 September. All sampling will be carried out in accordance with the Water Pollution (Bathing Water Standards and Objectives) Scheme 2021. The data will be assessed against the 2006 EU Bathing Water Directive standards which are designed for the protection of public health.
Designated bathing waters:
Weekly sampling will also be undertaken at Douglas Broadway, Douglas Summerhill and North Ramsey.
Please note these locations have not been formally designated under the Water Pollution (Bathing Water Standards and Objectives) Scheme 2021 and therefore bathing water profiles and beach signage as detailed in the scheme have not been developed. This monitoring will also be subject to resources.
Non designated bathing waters for 4 weekly monitoring:
- Port Grenaugh
- Port Soderick
- Glen Wyllin
- Kirk Michael
- Mooragh Park
- Port Lewaigue
Any discharge or other release of untreated or only partially treated sewage to sea deposits large numbers of micro-organisms into the sea water, which have a significant influence on bathing water quality on beaches. The same is true of untreated water run-off from intensive land-based animal husbandry. These micro-organisms include bacteria and viruses, some of which can be pathogenic with the potential to cause diseases, skin irritations and gastro-enteritis. The most abundant organisms in sewage are, however, the non-pathogenic coliforms, the detection and quantification of which is the basis of the regular testing of bathing waters.
The Isle of Man's sewage system has been undergoing substantial modernisation in recent years, commencing with the major 'IRIS' scheme which has effectively dealt with human sewage from the southern half of the Island since 2005, and continuing with a programme of smaller treatment works in other locations which in due course should ensure that all sewage is adequately treated. Improvements in bathing water quality have been evident in the regular monitoring data as the modernisation has progressed. It is noted, however, that not all of the beaches in the affected areas meet the best standards all the time. This may be because human sewage is not the only source of bacterial contamination, however also possibly relevant is that any incorrect sewage connections to the surface water drainage system will circumvent sewage treatment, which may be of significance particularly in locations with a substantial volume of older property.
Related to this, the quality of bathing water is widely accepted as being affected by weather, with extended periods of sunny, dry weather yielding better water quality than very wet periods, due to the dual effects of ultraviolet light from the sun killing bacteria coupled with less land run-off entering the sea.
The location of the sampling beaches, proximity of sewage outfalls and levels of treatment given to the sewage can be seen as follows:
|Sampling beach||National grid reference||Nearest sewage outfall||Treatment level|
|Douglas (Summerhill)||SC 3925 7720||Transferred to IRIS||Full|
|Douglas (Central)||SC 3884 7685||Transferred to IRIS||Full|
|Douglas (Broadway)||SC 3846 7631||Transferred to IRIS||Full|
|Laxey||SC 4421 8356||300m North East||None|
|Ramsey||SC 4552 9453||1600m North||Full|
|Peel||SC 2439 8447||250m North East||None|
|Port Erin||SC 1942 6897||Transferred to IRIS||Full|
|Port St Mary||SC 2122 6814||Transferred to IRIS||Full|
|Castletown||SC 2710 6762||Transferred to IRIS||Full|
|Deryhaven||SC 2866 6734||Transferred to IRIS||Full|
|Kirk Michael (Balleira)||SC 3131 9144||100m North West||Full|
|Port Soderick||SC 3474 7267||None|
|Bay-ny-Carrickey||SC 2215 6880||Transferred to IRIS||Full|
|Jurby||SC 3522 9981||150m North West||Full|
|Fenella (Peel)||SC 2414 8444||750m round Island||None|
|Garwick||SC 4353 8138||300m South East||None|
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