A Co. Tyrone farmer has been fined for polluting a waterway in Northern Ireland, according to the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA).

Stephen Carson, of Tievenny Road, Strabane, Co. Tyrone was convicted at Strabane Magistrates’ Court earlier today (Thursday, August 31) of making a polluting discharge to a waterway.

Carson submitted a guilty plea and was fined £1,000 (€1,084) along with a £15 (€16.27) Offenders Levy.

On October 13, 2016, water quality inspectors working for the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA), inspected a tributary of the River Derg at Tievenny Road, Ardstraw.

Here they observed what was described as a “milky white agricultural discharge” flowing from an orange PVC pipe and entering the waterway.

The inspectors continued upstream and at various points along the waterway pollution in the form of heavy fungal growth was noted.

They entered a farm at Tievenny Road and were directed to speak with Carson. The matter was discussed, centring on a recently-constructed milking parlour in July 2016 and misconnected pipework being at fault.

When offered one portion of the statutory sample Carson declined to accept it. At a follow-up visit on November 22, 2016, the milky discharge to the waterway was reported to be still occurring.

On a further visit on December 9, 2016, it was observed that pipework had been installed to take the effluent from the milking parlour to a slurry tank and no discharge to the waterway was noted.

The discharge to the waterway visibly impacted it for a distance of some 670m, according to the inspectors.

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.