Farmer convicted for fish kill through slurry contamination

A Fermanagh farmer was today convicted of allowing slurry to enter a waterway – causing a major fish kill – according to Northern Ireland’s Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA).

Victor Armstrong, Ardlougher Road, Irvinestown was given a conditional discharge at Enniskillen Magistrates’ Court today (Wednesday, September 13). The court also ordered Armstrong to pay costs of the fish kill, which came to a total of £2,642 (€2,936).

On May 5, 2016, water quality inspectors acting on behalf of the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA), responded to a report of pig slurry in the Ballycassidy/Irvinestown River.

The inspectors arrived at a farmyard and discovered that slurry had been flowing over the yard and into the waterway from the direction of a slurry reception tank.

In accordance with procedures, an inspector collected a statutory sample of the slurry as it made its way to the waterway via a black pipe.

The next day, inspectors responded to a further report that the river was grey in colour and smelled strongly of pig slurry. They noticed a number of brown trout distressed and dying as the plume flowed downstream, according to DAERA.

Representatives from DAERA Inland Fisheries walked from Drumgarrow Bridge to the confluence with the Ballycassidy River and took note of 183 dead brown trout, 35 roach and two pike. The waterway was impacted for a distance of 10km.

A sample taken at the time of the incident confirmed that the discharge contained poisonous, noxious or polluting matter which was potentially harmful to fish life in the receiving waterway.

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