Major pollution incident after massive slurry spill

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A number of fish have died in a Co Tyrone river following a major pollution incident which is currently being investigated.

It has been reported over 100,000 gallons of slurry were released into the Owenreagh River near Dromore on Wednesday – understood to be the result of an accident with a slurry tank on a local farm.

The Loughs Agency said staff were able to locate the source and are investigating the incident.

In a statement, it said: “Statutory samples have been taken and despatched for analysis.

“The investigation carried on during the night and the pollution has continued to move downstream into the Drumragh River.”

The agency said it has “found evidence of dead fish”, but were not able to give an estimate of the number.

It said the priority was to deploy aeration equipment to reoxygenate the water for surviving fish.

The Northern Ireland Environment Agency has been advised of the incident and the investigation is ongoing.

Omagh Ulster Unionist councillor Chris Smyth said lessons must be learned.

Mr Smyth said: “The scenes which I have witnessed downstream in the Strule river highlight the devastation which has resulted from this pollution incident. Omagh as a town is situated on the river side and has a deep affinity with it.

“The local community has in recent times been very proactive in protecting the river and it is extremely disappointing to see so much of the good work undone by this pollution which has affected literally miles of the river.”