Pollution warning due to fish kill and warm weather

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Industry, landowners and farmers are being urged to take extra care during the summer months to protect our water from pollution.

Following the recent major fish kill on the River Callan in Armagh City, the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) has warned that lower water levels and warmer temperatures means waterways and wildlife are more susceptible to pollution.

Tim Irwin, Head of NIEA’s Water Management Unit, said: “Every living thing depends on water. It is a precious resource that is fundamental for our health, our environment and economy.

“There are still too many water pollution incidents in Northern Ireland that cause damage to our environment and to our wildlife. We all have a duty to protect this essential asset and our landowners, farmers and industry must take extra precautions during the warmer months to ensure that pollutants are not allowed to escape into our freshwater, groundwater or marine environments.”

Mr Irwin explained that rivers are particularly vulnerable because warmer water temperatures means less oxygen is capable of being dissolved within the river water.

“Less oxygen combined with reduced water volume make our rivers more susceptible to the impacts of pollution. If released into a watercourse, organic substances such as slurry, silage or sewage effluent exert an oxygen demand and deplete the oxygen supply, causing the suffocation of fish and other aquatic animals. Water is a valuable and precious asset and we should treat it as such,” he added.

If you have any concerns about water pollution in your local area or want to report a water pollution incident, you can contact the NIEA water pollution hotline on 0800 807 060. This service is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.