A County Antrim farmer, Patrick McNaughton (58), of Corkey Road, Loughguile, Ballymena was convicted today at Coleraine Magistrates' Court sitting in Ballymena for a water pollution offence.
Mr McNaughton pleaded guilty and was fined £1,250 plus £15 Offender Levy.
The Court heard that on 6 December 2019 a Senior Water Quality Inspector (SWQI) acting on behalf of the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) inspected the Killagan Water on the Corkey Road, Loughguile and discovered an extensive covering of thick sewage fungus on the bed of the waterway. The Inspector traced the waterway upstream and entered an out-farm at Corkey Road where he observed a covering of sewage fungus in the waterway which flowed alongside the farm. During further inspections the Inspector located an open manhole chamber at the edge of the farmyard, close to the waterway. This chamber contained a steady flow of effluent which appeared to be contaminated surface water and silage effluent from the silage clamp nearby, that was not being directed to the designated holding tank for this contaminated drainage.
In accordance with procedures a tripartite statutory sample of the active discharge was collected and analysed and found to contain poisonous, noxious, or polluting matter which was potentially harmful to fish life in the receiving waterway. Effluents of this nature enrich fungus coverage on the bed of the watercourse which may lead to the destruction of fish spawning sites, as well as starving river invertebrates, on which fish feed, of oxygen.
The Inspector added dye to the chamber and a short time later, the dye was noted entering the waterway from a pipe, confirming the link from the chamber on the farmyard to the receiving waterway.
Anyone wishing to report a pollution incident can call the 24 hour Water Pollution Hotline on: 0800 80 70 60.