A Northern Irish construction firm was fined for causing pollution to a waterway in Co. Derry this week, according to the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA).

Corramore Construction Ltd pleaded guilty and was fined £750 (€828) along with a £15 (€17) Offenders Levy at Magherafelt Magistrates’ Court in Co. Derry, for causing polluting discharge to enter a waterway.

On March 22, 2016, Water Quality Inspectors working for the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) investigated a report of pollution in the Altagoan River at Gortnaskey Road, Draperstown.

The inspectors came across extensive beige-coloured fungal growth in the Altagoan River. A strong agricultural odour was detected from the water.

They observed an active discharge of a dark coloured liquid with a strong smell coming from a blue pipe which entered the Altagoan River. A sample of the discharge was collected.

Following the fungus upstream, the agency inspectors noted a black pipe discharging liquid over a bank and entering the waterway.

This pipe was found at the bottom of an embankment from the direction of the construction site where an anaerobic digestion plant was under construction.

The discharge reportedly emitted the smell of silage effluent; a sample of this discharge was also taken.

During an inspection of the silage pit (clamp), the inspectors saw effluent flowing from the concrete slab area onto the hard-core yard area. The inspectors continued further upstream and witnessed a second black pipe actively discharging to the Altagoan River, where they took another sample of the discharge.

Each of the three samples confirmed that the discharge contained poisonous, noxious or polluting matter which was described as “potentially harmful to fish life” in the waterway, the department announced.