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Farmer fined in court following silage effluent pollution

Farmer in court over water pollution

A farmer has appeared in court in connection with a water pollution offence.

Patrick McNaughton (58), with an address at Corkey Road, Loughguile, Ballymena, NI. came before a Coleraine Magistrates’ Court sitting in Ballymena on Friday, April 6th, 2022.

After pleading guilty, the judge ordered him to pay a fine of £1,250 plus a£15 offender levy.

The court heard that on December 6th, 2019, a Senior Water Quality Inspector (SWQI), acting on behalf of the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA), inspected the Killagan Water on the Corkey Road, Loughguile.

Silage effluent 

They discovered an “extensive” covering of thick sewage fungus on the bed of the waterway.

The inspector traced the waterway upstream and entered an out-farm at Corkey Road. Here, they observed a covering of sewage fungus in the waterway which flowed alongside the farm.

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During further inspections, the inspector located an open manhole chamber at the edge of the farmyard, close to the waterway.

This chamber contained what the court heard was “a steady flow” of effluent which appeared to be contaminated surface water and silage effluent from the silage clamp nearby, that was not being directed to the designated holding tank for this contaminated drainage.

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

They discovered that it contained poisonous, noxious, or polluting matter. The court heard this was “potentially harmful” to fish life in the receiving waterway.

The court heard that effluents of this nature enrich fungus coverage on the bed of the watercourse.

This may lead to the destruction of fish spawning sites and starving river invertebrates, on which fish feed, of oxygen.

The inspector added dye to the chamber and a short time later, the dye was noted entering the waterway from a pipe.

The court heard that this confirmed the link from the chamber on the farmyard to the receiving waterway.

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