A County Londonderry businessman Norman Menary (69) of Brough Road, Castledawson, Magherafelt was convicted on Friday at Coleraine Magistrates’ Court sitting in Ballymena for eight separate water pollution offences.
Mr Menary pleaded guilty and was fined a total of £10,000 plus £15 Offender Levy.
The Court heard that on 5 December 2018 Water Quality Inspectors (WQIs) acting on behalf of the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) responded to a report of water pollution. The Inspectors entered the Anaerobic Digester (AD) site at Drumslade Road, Coleraine. The Inspectors discovered an earth banked silage clamp and black coloured liquid was observed discharging from both ends of the silage clamp and flowing over the ground towards the main yard area. On site where partially constructed concrete walled silos and three circular tanks associated with an Anaerobic Digester plant. At the uncovered tank, a flow of beige muddy water was observed discharging to an open channel flowing towards the Lower River Bann.
At the lower yard area a flow of black grey coloured liquid was observed discharging through an embankment adjacent to an unused animal shed flowing towards an excavated gully in the direction of an overgrown lagoon, an overgrown below ground tank and a derelict above ground slurry store. This black coloured liquid was flowing into a grey coloured liquid from the side of a fourth tank. At the Lower River Bann the Inspectors discovered white/grey fungus on the vegetation and a pipe discharging grey coloured liquid directly into the Lower River Bann. Downstream along the Lower River Bann a flow of beige muddy water was discharging to the river.
In accordance with procedures the Inspectors collected four separate tripartite samples of the active discharges. A positive dye test confirmed the effluent was entering the Lower River Bann. Dye was added to the earth banked silo where the effluent was flowing down the embankment towards the main yard area.
Throughout 2019 Inspectors made several visits to the site and in accordance with procedures took separate tri-partite samples of the active discharges.
Anyone wishing to report a pollution incident can call the 24 hour Water Pollution Hotline on: 0800 80 70 60.