Mann: Concern About Storage of Toxic Silt and Haul Route

NEWS FROM THE CELTIC LEAGUE

The Celtic League have addressed a number of queries to the Manx Chief Minister about the storage of contaminated silt which cannot be deposed of at sea at an onshore site.

The League also ask about containment of the material in transit and also if the haul route passes a primary school on the exit road to the dump site.

Text of the queries below:

“The Chief Minister
Allan Bell MHK
Chief Minister Office
Government Buildings
Douglas
Isle of Man

5th April 2015

Dear Chief Minister,

Re: Peel Harbour Dredging and Onshore Storage of Harbour Silt.

I attach correspondence sent to the Minister for Infrastructure with reference to the above.

Mr Gawne subsequently replied (very swiftly) and indicated that internal assessments have been undertaken to establish risks in relation to this operation and he indicated that this process which I believe starts next week has been six months in the planning.

Can I say that I appreciate that the Department faces a difficult problem here but that said it would be unforgiveable if that problem was simply transferred from Peel Harbour to an onshore site (Poortown) and in the longer term that led to:

a) A threat to public health.
b) The potential contamination of agricultural land in the environs of the site.

There is not doubt that the silt in Peel harbour is heavily contaminated with heavy metals an unfortunate legacy of the Islands mining past. Indeed there appears to be conflicting evidence on-line which suggests that concentrations may be higher than official estimates. That aside I think the very least the Department and Government could have done is to publish its environmental assessments so the public would be better informed – if not have had an independent assessment undertaken.

I note Mr Gawne indicates that the silt will be stored in a manner that should avoid any leaching of material. However one wonders how this can be done effectively not least given the time frame that the Department have worked within.

We also have the past example of so called ‘engineered’ dump sites for waste which turned out not to be secure.

A cursory assessment of the ground to the north west and west of the dump site will show that there are a number of ‘Gareys’ in that area so any leaching of contamination into the water table could lead to long term pollution.

Also, there appears to be little information about the movement of the material and the containment of it whilst in transit.

Will it be securely enclosed so that no seepage of material can occur?

What is the haul route – the most logical route is out the A20 (Poortown Road) if so the material containing high levels of zinc, lead, copper and cadmium would be passing a primary school – please tell me this is not the case?

Finally, what steps will be taken to monitor the stability of the materials once deposited at Poortown and given that this is a recurring problem do you anticipate further accumulations of harbour silt at the site effectively creating a toxic ‘super dump’ in the area?

I do hope that the Government and the Department acting (I have no doubt in good faith) do not create a greater problem because of what they perceive as the ‘expediency’ offered by the Poortown site.

Yours sincerely,

J B Moffatt (Mr)

Director of Information
Celtic League”

Related links on CL News to query to Minister of Infrastructure and his response:

https://www.celticleague.net/news/mann-questions-about-onshore-harbour-silt-disposal/

https://www.celticleague.net/news/mann-prompt-response-from-minister-on-harbour-silt-queries/

J B Moffatt (Mr)
Director of Information
Celtic League

05/04/15

(Please note that replies to correspondence received by the League and posted on CL News are usually scanned hard copies. Obviously every effort is made to ensure the scanning process is accurate but sometimes errors do occur).

ISSUED BY THE CELTIC LEAGUE INFORMATION SERVICE

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