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Department looking at options for treatment and disposal of marina silt

Wednesday, 24 January 2018

The Isle of Man Government is continuing to explore options for the treatment and disposal of problematic silt from Peel Marina.

The Department of Infrastructure wants to hear from companies that can offer a method of removing a sufficient level of contaminants to allow the dredged material to be recycled or disposed of at sea.

A Prior Information Notice has been published this week to identify contractors with the technical expertise and experience to process the silt into a more environmentally acceptable form of waste.

As well as testing the market for a scientific solution, the Department is working on a wide range of other potential options. This includes encasing the silt to form new sea defences to tackle coastal erosion and the possibility of developing a land-based problematic waste site.

The Department is looking at the proposals as part of its commitment to managing the material that builds up in the impounded area of Peel harbour.

About 3,000 tonnes of silt enters the marina from the River Neb each year, containing traces of heavy metals and other contaminants, largely as a result of historical mining operations. Independent analysis of samples taken from the marina has so far ruled out disposal at sea.

If dredging does not take place, the accumulation of silt will threaten the closure of a number of vessel berths.

Approximately 10,000 tonnes of material was excavated and transported to a temporary storage site on the outskirts of Peel in 2015 to help restore the marina to its published depth.

The Department has since been working on long-term solutions in partnership with the Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture. The intention is to balance the need to maintain the marina with the cost to the public purse and Government’s responsibilities to the marine ecosystem and the Island’s commercial fishery.

A Peel Marina Project Board has been established to examine the issue, chaired by Tim Baker MHK, the Member for the Department of Infrastructure with responsibility for Ports.

Mr Baker said:

‘Work is taking place to assess all the options for dredging and disposing of the material that accumulates in the marina and good progress is being achieved on several fronts. The treatment of problematic silt is a complex matter and we are inviting initial interest from specialist contractors in this field via the Prior Information Notice. Technology is advancing and if there is a proven scientific process to reduce the contaminants to a level that meets international requirements then disposal at sea or recycling the silt for use in building aggregate may be possible.’

He added:

‘It is in everybody’s interest for the Isle of Man to fulfil its environmental obligations and to ensure that Peel marina remains a high-quality facility for Manx and visiting boat owners.’

The Department will assess submissions in response to the Prior Information Notice before considering its next steps.

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