Co Antrim farmer fined for water pollution

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Farmer Chris Lynch (50) from Causeway Road, Bushmills, County Antrim, was convicted at Coleraine Magistrates Court today for causing water pollution on Runkerry Beach, Bushmills. Lynch pleaded guilty and was fined £500 plus £15 Offender Levy.

On 25 September 2018 a Water Quality Inspector, acting on behalf of the Northern Ireland Environment Agency, responded to a report of pollution in a stream flowing onto the Runkerry Beach near Bushmills.

The inspector observed dark green/brown discolouration in the waterway and an agricultural odour was detected. The Inspector traced the waterway upstream to a farm on the Causeway Road. The effluent was traced to a large above ground slurry store, the inspector discovered there was a leak in the slurry store and dark green liquid was observed jetting from the side of it. The ground in front of the slurry store was saturated with a dark coloured liquid from this leak. The slurry was flowing down approximately 100m of drainage pipe before entering the waterway.

In accordance with procedures, a statutory sample of the active discharge was collected from the drainage pipe.

The sample of the discharge was 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.

Anyone wishing to report a pollution incident can call the 24 hour Water Pollution Hotline on: 0800 80 70 60.