Firm fined over fish kill

Date published: 05 February 2018

Co Londonderry firm J & A Renewables Limited was today fined £1,600 and ordered to pay compensation of £1,845 at Magherafelt Magistrates' Court for causing a fish kill in the Altagoan River and for operating an anaerobic digestion plant without a valid Waste Management Authorisation licence.

On 11 November 2016, Water Quality Inspectors (WQI), acting on behalf of the Northern Ireland Environment Agency, responded to a report of pollution affecting the Altagoan River, a tributary of the Moyola River downstream of Gortnaskea Road, Draperstown. The inspector observed the waterway to be green in colour and an odour of slurry was detected from the waterway. The inspector crossed an abandoned railway embankment and entered an area to the rear of the anaerobic digester site. Slurry was observed discharging from a blue pipe, flowing down the lagoon embankment and discharging to the Altagoan River. In accordance with procedures a quad-partite statutory sample of the discharge was collected. The inspector discovered a number of dead brown trout. The court ordered the firm to pay £1,845 compensation in respect of the fish kill.

On 21 November 2016 a search of Departmental records confirmed that there was no authorisation or application for an Anaerobic Digestion Plant to operate at that site on the Gortnaskea Road, Draperstown. 

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

Notes to editors: 

  1. J & A Renewables Ltd 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 and fined £750 and with the offence depositing controlled waste, or knowingly permitted controlled waste to be deposited in or on any land without there being in force a waste management licence authorising said deposit contrary to Article 4(1)(a) of the Waste and Contaminated Land (Northern Ireland) Order 1997 and fined £850.
  2. J & A Renewables Ltd was ordered to pay £1,845 compensation in respect of fish kill.
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