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Farmer fined after silage effluent found in waterway

A farmer has been handed a £1,000 fine and ordered to pay an offender’s levy of £15 after pleading guilty to allowing a polluting discharge from his farm to enter a waterway.

Drew Forsythe from Co. Antrim pleaded guilty to the offence at Ballymena Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday, February 26th.

The court was told that on February 7, 2019, a Water Quality Inspector (WQI), acting on behalf of the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA), responded to a report of pollution affecting a waterway at Omerbane Lane, Cloughmills. 

The court heard that the inspector observed fungal growth on the bed of the waterway and a smell of silage effluent was detected from the waterway.

The inspector also discovered silage effluent flowing out from the silo and down the yard towards the silage effluent tank. The silage effluent tank was full, and effluent was flowing from it into a gulley and it was seen to enter the waterway.  

In accordance with procedures, a statutory tripartite sample was collected and analysed. 

The results of the analysis confirmed that the discharge contained poisonous, noxious or polluting matter which was potentially harmful to fish life in the receiving waterway, according to the Department of Agriculture, Rural Affairs and Environment.

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