Camlough farmer fined £500 for causing pollution discharge to enter a waterway

Date published: 20 March 2017

A Co Armagh farmer was convicted and fined £500, an Offenders Levy of £15, plus a Compensation Order for £1,750 for fish kill costs to be paid to the Loughs Agency, at Newry Magistrates' Court today.

Sean Magill, from Quarter Road, Camlough, was fined for making a polluting discharge to a waterway.

On 23 January 2014, Water Quality Inspectors, acting on behalf of the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA), inspected a waterway at Millvale, Bessbrook, and observed the waterway to be brown in colour and foaming. The source of the polluting discharge was traced to a farm at Divernagh Road, Bessbrook.

The owner of the farm was on holiday. However, Sean Magill, without the permission of the farm owner, had accessed the slurry tanks to draw off slurry. The valves at the slurry tank had been left open. An inspection of the waterway by officers from the Loughs Agency confirmed 582 dead eels, trout and other fish up to five miles downstream.

Samples 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.

Notes to editors: 

  1. Sean Magill 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.
  2. Farmers are reminded to ensure that valves at slurry tanks are firmly closed immediately following the drawing off of loads of slurry.
  3. For media enquiries please email DAERA Press Office or tel  028 9052 4619. Out of office hours please contact the EIS Duty Press Officer on pager 07623 974 383 and your call will be returned.

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