Three Coleraine farmers were convicted at Coleraine Magistrates Court today for causing two separate discharges of silage effulent to enter a waterway.
Co Londonderry brothers David, Hugh and James Conn for Barmouth Road, Castlerock, Coleraine were fined a total of £2,200, plus £15 Offenders Levy each.
Water Quality Inspectors (WQI’s) acting on behalf of the Northern Ireland Environment Agency responded to a report of pollution affecting an unnamed tributary of the Articlave River on 14 September 2016. The Inspectors discovered an open field drain was overgrown, making it difficult to carry out a thorough inspection. The Conn Brothers undertook excavation work at their farm premises. During a further visit on 24 October 2016 the Inspectors observed a discharge in the open field drain. The Inspectors advised they would return the following week.
On 3 November 2016, as agreed the Inspectors examined an unnamed tributary of the Articlave River. The Inspectors proceeded to a farmyard to begin their examination. The Inspectors made their way to an open field drain where they observed a concrete pipe discharging a dark green/black liquid. Approximately 10 metres downstream the Inspectors observed another discharge of dark green/black liquid exiting an orange pipe. The Inspectors followed the open field drain to the confluence with the Articlave River and observed the dark coloured liquid entering the Articlave River. Grey fungus was observed impacting the waterway for several hundred meters.
In accordance with procedures a sample of the discharge was taken from the concrete pipe and another sample was taken from the discharge from the orange pipe. Analysis confirmed that the discharge contained poisonous, noxious or polluting matter which was potentially harmful to fish life in the receiving waterway.
Anyone wishing to report a pollution incident can call the 24 hour Water Pollution Hotline on 0800 80 70 60.