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Farmer fined thousands for ‘active discharge’ of slurry into waterway

A 53-year-old farmer has appeared in court in connection with a water pollution-related offence.

Philip Palmer of Tobermore Road, Desertmartin, Co. Londonderry, was convicted at Magherafelt Magistrates’ Court, sitting in Londonderry Courthouse on Wednesday, August 24th, 2022.

Palmer pleaded guilty and was fined a total of £5,025.34: £1,500 of a fine and costs of £3,525.34 to replace the fish killed due to this incident.

The court heard that on May 21st, 2020, a Water Quality Inspector (WQI), acting on behalf of the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA), inspected the Grange Water at Grange Water Bridge, Desertmartin.

The court heard that they discovered green/brown discoloured water, dead and “distressed” fish in the waterway and a “strong smell” of slurry.


The inspector travelled upstream to the Keenaght Water on Longfield Road, Desertmartin. Here, they identified the presence of slurry within the waterway, which runs through Mr Palmer’s farm to the Keenaught Water.

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The inspector observed an active discharge of slurry into the waterway.

Palmer deployed a soil dam and a submersible pump to prevent any further discharge to Grange Water.

The inspector returned to the enterprise on May 22nd, 2020. They checked the dammed section of the waterway at its confluence with the Keenaught Wate.

There was no evidence of any effluent having circumvented the soil bund.

A clean-up company was appointed and conducted a clean-up operation.

In accordance with procedures, officers collected and analysed a tripartite statutory sample of the active discharge.

They discovered that it contained poisonous, noxious, and polluting matter, which was potentially harmful to fish life in the receiving waterway.

DAERA Inland Fisheries investigated the incident as a major fish kill, which resulted in the death of 2632 fish: 2525 trout and 107 salmon.

Other farming news articles on That’s Farming:

Farmer fined as slurry store’s ‘faulty’ valve leads to fish kill

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