County Antrim businessman fined for unconsented discharge to a waterway

Date published: 25 September 2019

County Antrim businessman Ian Robert McMaster (57) from Aghnadore Road, Broughshane, Ballymena was convicted and fined £3,000 plus £15 Offenders Levy at Ballymena Magistrates' Court today for making an unconsented discharge of potato processing waste to a waterway.

On 28 March 2018, a Water Quality Inspector acting on behalf of the Northern Ireland Environment Agency responded to a report of extensive fungal growth in the Devenagh Burn, Broughshane. The inspector observed a discoloured discharge entering the Devenagh Burn at Aghnadore Road, Broughshane. The inspector discovered a large accumulation of foam surrounding the discharge point.

The source of the discharge was traced to premises operated by Chipmaster, a potato processing company. Ian Robert McMaster showed the officer a tank that was used to collect liquid from the potato processing operation. During questioning, it was revealed that when the tank became full an overflow pipe conveyed the excess liquid to the Devenagh Burn where it discharged at the point where the inspector had observed the discharge. A dye test carried out at the time confirmed that the potato processing effluent was entering the Devenagh Burn.

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. Ian Robert McMaster 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 28 March 2018.
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