Co Londonderry farmer fined £1,000 for causing water pollution

Londonderry farmer Adrian Bates (39), of Ballyronan Road, Magherafelt, was convicted today at Magherafelt Magistrates’ Court for water pollution offences.

Mr Bates pleaded guilty and was fined a total of £1,000.

The court heard that on 27 November 2019, Water Quality Inspectors (WQIs) acting on behalf of the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) responded to a report of grey fungus in a waterway adjacent to Ballynagarve Road, Magherafelt.

The Inspectors observed a significant amount of white/grey fungal growth in the waterway and a smell of silage effluent was detected from the water.

Co Londonderry farmer fined £1,000 for causing water pollution.

The Inspectors arrived at a farm at Ballyronan Road where they proceeded to inspect a silage clamp and collection facilities on the farm.

The Inspectors discovered run-off from a manure heap was entering a storm gully.

The Inspectors examined a storm chamber where the liquid was dark in colour and smelled of silage effluent. A positive dye test proved the link between the storm chamber and the waterway.

In accordance with procedures a tripartite statutory sample was collected from the concrete storm chamber.

The sample 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.

The Inspectors revisited the farm on 28 November 2019 and inspected the storm chamber.

The liquid in the chamber was much cleaner than the previous day, however, it remained unfit for discharge to the storm system.