Farmer fined for polluting waterway with slurry

A Co. Armagh farmer has been fined £500 (€575) for polluting a waterway with slurry at Newry Magistrates Court recently.

Sean Magill, from Quarter Road, Camlough also had to pay an Offender’s Levy of £15 (€17) as well as a Compensation Order of £1,750 (€2,012) for fish kill costs, to be paid to the Loughs Agency.

The Camlough farmer polluted the waterway for up to 8km; with some 582 dead eels, trout and other fish confirmed by the Loughs Agency.

On January 23, 2014, a waterway at Millvale, Bessbrook in Co. Armagh was inspected by Water Quality Inspectors acting on behalf of the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA).

The inspectors observed the waterway to be brown in colour and foaming.

The source of the polluting discharge was reportedly traced to a farm at Divernagh Road, Bessbrook. It is believed that the owner of the farm was on holiday at the time of the incident.

However, it is alleged that Magill, without the permission of the farm owner, had accessed the slurry tanks to draw off slurry.

It is believed the valves at the slurry tank had been left open, allowing the slurry to escape and enter the waterway.

Samples 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.

The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs has reminded farmers to ensure that valves at slurry tanks are firmly closed immediately following the drawing off of loads of slurry.

Farmer fined for causing serious fish kill

In January, a farmer in Northern Ireland was fined £650 (€750) and a £15 (€17) Offender’s Levy for polluting a waterway in 2015 causing a major fish kill.

Robert Duncan from Ballymoughan Road, Magherafelt, Co. Derry, was convicted and fined at Magherafelt Magistrates’ Court for causing polluting discharge to enter a waterway.

The waterway was impacted for a distance of 3.2km, resulting in the death of more than 880 native brown trout.

On 11 June 2015, Water Quality Inspectors (WQIs), acting on behalf of the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA), inspected the Coppies Burn waterway at Magherafelt.

They observed the presence of agricultural effluent in the waterway, while the source of the polluting discharge was traced to a farm owned by Duncan.