Bathing water quality
Bathing waters are monitored around the island at 19 locations for Escherichia coli (E.coli) and Intestinal Enterococci during the bathing season (1 May to 18 September). The monitoring for E.coli and Intestinal Enterococci are a requirement under the Water Pollution (Bathing Water Standards and Objectives) Scheme 2021 which is the same as the EU 2006 Bathing Water Directive.
Bathing water sampling is undertaken by the Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture on a weekly basis for designated bathing waters and 4 weekly for non-designated bathing waters. The bathing season is defined as a 20 week period from the 1 May to 18 September. All sampling is carried out in accordance with the Water Pollution (Bathing Water Standards and Objectives) Scheme 2021. The standards included in the scheme are designed for the protection of public health and all data is publish in the specific webpage.
The designated bathing waters which will be sampled on a weekly basis are;
- Bay ny Carrickey
- Douglas Central
- Glen Wyllin
- Port Erin
- Port St Mary
- North Ramsey
- South Ramsey
Sampling at the designated bathing waters listed above will occur on the following dates. All data will be uploaded to the associated bathing water profile to be viewed.
The non-designated bathing which will be sampled on a 4 weekly basis are;
- Douglas Broadway
- Douglas Summerhill
- Fishers Hill
- Port Grenaugh
- Port Lewaigue
- Port Skillion
- Port Soderick
Please note that the non-designated locations in the list above have not been formally designated under the Water Pollution (Bathing Water Standards and Objectives) Scheme 2021 and therefore bathing water profiles and site specific signs have not been developed.
Sampling at the non-designated bathing waters listed above will occur on the following dates. The data from these samples will be uploaded to the ‘2023 Additional Bathing Water’ webpage.
What can impact bathing water quality?
Bathing water quality can be impacted by 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 Location||National Grid Reference||Designation Status||Nearest Sewage Outfall||Treatment Level|
|Bay ny Carrickey||SC 2155 6865||Designated||Transferred to IRIS||Full|
|Castletown||SC 2734 6773||Designated||Transferred to IRIS||Full|
|Derbyhaven||SC 2866 6734||Non- designated||Transferred to IRIS||Full|
|Douglas Broadway||SC 3846 7631||Non- designated||Transferred to IRIS||Full|
|Douglas Central||SC 3884 7685||Designated||Transferred to IRIS||Full|
|Douglas Summerhill||SC 3925 7720||Non- designated||Transferred to IRIS||Full|
|Fenella||SC 2414 8444||Non- designated||750m round Island||None|
|Fishers Hill||SC 2396 6857||Non- designated||Transferred to IRIS||Full|
|Glen Wyllin||SC 3095 9063||Designated||900m North East||Full|
|Laxey||SC 4421 8356||Non- designated||300m North East||None|
|North Ramsey||SC 4528 9498||Designated||900m North||Full|
|Peel||SC 2439 8446||Non- designated||250m North East||None|
|Port Erin||SC 1942 6897||Designated||Transferred to IRIS||Full|
|Port Grenaugh||SC 3160 7051||Non- designated||None||N/A|
|Port Skillion||SC 3896 7482||Non- designated||Transferred to IRIS||Full|
|Port St Mary||SC 2120 6817||Designated||Transferred to IRIS||Full|
|Port Soderick||SC 3473 7267||Non- designated||None||N/A|
|South Ramsey||SC 4552 9453||Designated||1600m North||Full|
For further information, please contact +44 1624 685885 or email firstname.lastname@example.org