LacPatrick Dairies (NI) Ltd was today (Friday) fined £5,000 at Coleraine Magistrates’ Court after it pleaded guilty to causing a polluting discharge from an anaerobic digester.
On a number of dates between 30 July 2015 and 15 April 2016, Water Quality Inspectors (WQIs), acting on behalf of the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) examined an inspection chamber at the LacPatrick Anaerobic Digester site at Cloyfin Road, Coleraine. The inspectors discovered grey fungus in the chamber and an odour of silage was detected from the water. In accordance with procedures a statutory sample was collected from this chamber. The inspector added green tracing dye to the inspection chamber; the dye was subsequently observed in the waterway.
On 3 November 2015, inspectors revisited the site and detected an odour of silage. A statutory sample of the discharge was collected. The inspectors met with the Chief Executive who explained there had been changes to the legal name and ownership of the then Ballyrashane Co-Op Company and its assets to LacPatrick, following a recent merger with Town of Monaghan Co-Operative and Dairy Society Ltd.
During another visit on 26 January 2016, inspectors observed grey fungus in a channel at the bottom of the chamber. An odour of silage effluent was detected from this chamber. A statutory sample was collected. Inspectors examined a storm grating where green tracing dye was added. The inspectors left the site and proceeded to examine the waterway. Extensive grey fungus and sludge worms were discovered. Green tracing dye was observed actively discharging into the waterway, proving continuity between the storm grating and the digester tank.
On 15 April 2016, the inspectors collected a statutory sample from the inspection chamber as the Inspector suspected the discharge from the chamber constituted an offence under the Water (NI) Order 1999.
The samples taken during this investigation confirmed that the discharges contained poisonous, noxious or polluting matter which was potentially harmful to fish life in the receiving waterway.
This ongoing pollution was the result of defective silage storage structures on site at the LacPatrick AD site.
Anyone wishing to report a pollution incident can call the 24 hour Water Pollution Hotline on 0800 80 70 60.