Cookstown farmer given suspended jail sentence for river pollution

An area of the Ballinderry River near Drapersfield.

An area of the Ballinderry River near Drapersfield.

A Co Tyrone farmer pleaded guilty and was fined a total of £7,000 and given a 21 months custodial sentence, suspended for three years, at Dungannon Crown Court on Tuesday.

Mr Colin Kelso, Gortavale Road, Rock, near Cookstownwas fined for making polluting discharges to a waterway.

He was also ordered to pay court costs and £15 offenders levy and pay £3,712.88 costs to the Northern Ireland Environment Agency.

On seven separate occasions between 8 November 2012 and 11 February 2013, Water Quality Inspectors, acting on behalf of the Northern Ireland Environment Agency, inspected an unnamed tributary of the Ballinderry River at Gortavale Road, Rock, Dungannon and observed fungal growth on the bed of the waterway. The pollution to the waterway was caused by slurry and silage effluents.

Upon inspection of the farm, slurry from a dirty slurry covered passageway and slurry lagoon was discharging, via a chamber, to a series of sumps to an open field drain to the waterway. Silage effluent discharged through a manhole on the farm to the series of sumps to the open field drain to the waterway.

The Inspectors observed extensive grey fungus in the waterway and on the surrounding vegetation. The pollution affected the unnamed tributary of the Ballinderry River for approximately 600 metres. The source of the polluting discharge was traced to a farm owned by Mr Kelso.

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 pollution can call the Water Pollution Hotline on 0800 80 70 60.




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