Strabane farmer fined £1,000 for polluting waterway

Date published: 31 August 2017

Stephen Carson, of Tievenny Road, Strabane, Co Tyrone was convicted at Strabane Magistrates’ Court today of making a polluting discharge to a waterway. He pleaded guilty and was fined £1,000 plus £15 Offenders Levy.

On 13 October 2016, Water Quality Inspectors (WQIs), acting on behalf of the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA), inspected a tributary of the River Derg at Tievenny Road, Ardstraw and observed what appeared to be a milky white agricultural discharge flowing from an orange pvc pipe and entering the waterway. 

The inspectors walked upstream and at various points along the waterway pollution in the form of heavy fungal growth was observed. They entered a farm at Tievenny Road and were directed to speak with Mr Stephen Carson. Discussion was entered into about a recently constructed milking parlour in July 2016 and misconnected pipework being at fault.  When offered one portion of the statutory sample Mr Stephen Carson declined to accept this. At a follow up visit on 22 November 2016 the milky discharge to the waterway was still occurring.

On a further visit on 9 December 2016 it was observed that pipework had been installed to take the effluent from the milking parlour to a slurry tank and no discharge to the waterway was noted. The discharge to the waterway visibly impacted it for a distance of some 670 metres.  

A sample taken at the time of the incident confirmed that the discharge contained poisonous, noxious or polluting matter which was potentially harmful to fish life in the receiving waterway.

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

Notes to editors: 

  1. Mr Stephen Carson 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.
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