Magherafelt farmer convicted of water pollution over 1.1km

Court gavel
Court gavel

A Magherafelt farmer has been fined £650 over pollution that led to the growth of a brown fungus on the entire bed of the 1.1km of affected water and had the potential to poison or harm fish.

Robert Duncan from Ballymoughan Road, Magherafelt, was convicted and fined at Magherafelt Magistrates Court on Monday (December 5) for making a polluting discharge to a waterway in 2015.

On 13 January 2015, Water Quality Inspectors acting on behalf of the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA), inspected a waterway at Ballymoughan Road, Magherafelt and the court heard how they observed a heavy grey/ brown fungal growth covering 100% of the bed of the waterway.

The source of the polluting discharge was traced to the farm owned by Mr Duncan.

Once on the farm the inspectors discovered large cracks in the yard concrete and also noted at the back wall of a midden lagoon.

They them saw a flow of effluent entering a block built chamber.

Dye tests carried out on January 13 last year showed continuity between the effluent discharging from the farm and the waterway.

The waterway was impacted for a distance of some 1.1km.

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.

Mr Robert Duncan was charged under Article 7(1)(a) of the Water (Northern Ireland) Order 1999 with the offence of making a polluting discharge to a waterway.