Co Tyrone farmer convicted of water pollution

Date published: 24 July 2019

Michael Hutchinson (31) from Ruskey Road, Coagh was today given an absolute discharge at Magherafelt Magistrates' Court for allowing slurry to enter a waterway.

On 13 October 2017 Water Quality Inspectors, acting on behalf of the Northern Ireland Environment Agency responded to a report of pollution affecting the Salterstown Burn, a tributary of Lough Neagh.  The Inspectors discovered that the waterway was brown/green in colour and an agricultural odour was detected from the waterway.  Upstream the waterway was visually clean.

The Inspectors observed slurry pooling in one field and flowing through the hedgeline into another field where slurry was observed lying in tracks left by machinery.  A Contractor had spread the fields with slurry.  In another field the Inspectors observed an active discharge from a concrete pipe enter an open field drain.

In accordance with procedures a statutory sample of the active discharge was collected.

The sample of the discharge 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.    

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

Notes to editors: 

  1. Michael Hutchinson was charged under Article 7(1)(a) of the Water (Northern Ireland) Order 1999 for the offence of making a polluting discharge to a waterway on 13 October 2017.
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  3. All media queries should be directed to the DAERA Press Office on 028 9052 4619 or via email. Out of office hours please contact the duty press officer on 028 9037 8110.

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