South Armagh farmer fined for pollution incident

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A farmer has been fined for causing pollution to a County Armagh river.

Owen Martin, of Old Road, Drumintee, Newry pleaded guilty and was fined £500 plus £15 Offenders Levy at Newry Magistrates’ Court for causing polluting discharge to enter a waterway.

On 25 November 2015, a Water Quality Inspector (WQI), acting on behalf of the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) inspected an outfarm at Shaughan Road, Belleeks. Silage effluent was discharging from the farm and subsequently observed to be flowing across the road, then down a laneway opposite the farm before entering a tributary of the Ballinasack and Forkhill River.

Downstream the Inspector observed a significant covering of sewage fungus on the bed of the waterway. The Inspector returned to the farm and discovered that an effluent collection channel, close to the silage clamp, was blocked with mud, debris and vegetation causing the overflow. The effluent was observed flowing freely between the silage clamp and the roadway and the waterway was visibly impacted for a distance greater than 1km.

A sample taken at the time of the incident confirmed that the discharge contained poisonous, noxious or polluting matter which was potentially harmful to fish life in the receiving waterway.

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