Construction company fined for water pollution offence

Date published: 21 January 2020

A County Antrim firm, John McQuillan (Contracts) Ltd, were fined £500 plus £15 Offenders Levy today at Lisburn Magistrates' Court.

On 22 March 2018, a Water Quality Inspector (WQI) acting on behalf of the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) inspected the Collin Glen River in Belfast following a number of complaints about silt in the area. 

On 26 March 2018, the Inspector and a colleague from the Regulation Team visited the Whitehill Landfill site at Glenside Road, Dunmurry. A flow of brown water was observed flowing down the concrete road and entering a storm water grating. An open section of the waterway downstream of the Glenside Road was brown in colour.

In accordance with procedures, a statutory tripartite sample was collected and analysed. The results of the analysis shows that the run-off had an extremely high suspended solids content. 

Effluents with high suspended solids contents can have an abrasive effect on the gills of fish, making them susceptible to infection. In addition, suspended solids can settle out in the waterway and lead to the destruction of fish spawning sites leading to a reduction in fish population and destruction of habitats for invertebrates which are an important source for fish.

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

Notes to editors: 

  1. John McQuillan (Contracts) Ltd were 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 26 March 2018.
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