Co Antrim farmer fined for water pollution offence

Date published: 03 March 2020

Co. Antrim farmer Samuel McCracken (56) from Craigmore Road, Randalstown was today fined £500 at Antrim Magistrates’ Court after pleading guilty to a pollution offence.

Samuel McCracken was also ordered to pay a £15 Offender Levy for allowing a polluting discharge to enter a waterway from his farm premises.

The court was told that on September 16, 2018 a Water Quality Inspector (WQI) acting on behalf of Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) carried out an inspection of a waterway at Caddy Road, Randalstown and observed the waterway was dark in colour with froth present.

On further inspection the WQI observed that the waterway flowing along the left hand side of the Craigmore Road was dark in colour. A blue pipe was then observed actively discharging into the waterway. There was foaming around the mouth of this pipe. Following the suspected direction the blue pipe was coming from a strong odour of silage effluent was detected from a concrete chamber in a field adjacent to a farm at Craigmore Road. As light was fading the investigation was terminated on 16 September.  On 17 September 2018 Water Quality Inspectors (WQIs) returned to the field on Craigmore Road and observed red patches of blood worms with grey fungus and black on the bed of an open field drain. A black plastic pipe was then observed discharging into the open field drain.

As required by procedures, a statutory tripartite sample was taken and analysed. The results confirmed that the discharge contained poisonous, noxious or polluting matter which was potentially harmful to fish life in the waterway.

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

Notes to editors: 

Samuel McCracken was charged and fined £500 under Article 7(1) (a) of the Water (Northern Ireland) Order 1999, as amended by the Water and Sewerage Services (Northern Ireland) Order 2006 for the offence of making a polluting discharge to a waterway on 16 September 2018.

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