Two farms, which have pleaded guilty to water pollution offences, have been ordered to pay approximately €1,750 (£1,500) and approximately €3,500 (£3,000), plus £15 Offenders’ Levy each
Elliott Farm Ltd and Rivercool Farm Ltd, Co. Fermanagh, appeared before Enniskillen Magistrates Court on Wednesday, November 13th.
On Friday, July 28th, 2018, a water quality inspector, acting on behalf of the Northern Ireland Environment Agency, responded to a report of pollution and dead fish in the Tempo River at the Belfast Road Bridge near Maguiresbridge.
The inspector observed more dead fish as he made his way along the Tempo River. Upon returning downstream from Tempo, the inspector discovered a discharge of agricultural effluent entering the Tempo River close to Elliott Farm at Carrowkeel Road.
The effluent was dark in colour and smelled strongly of farm effluent, according to the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs.
The court heard how farm effluent was observed to be leaking from the side of a silage collection tank and flowing down a lane to the Tempo River.
In accordance with procedures, a statutory sample of the active discharge was collected. The sample of the discharge was analysed and found to contain poisonous, noxious, or polluting matter which was potentially harmful to fish life in the receiving waterway, according to the DAERA.
It stressed that effluents of this nature enrich fungus coverage on the bed of the watercourse which may lead to the destruction of fish spawning sites, as well as starving river invertebrates, on which fish feed, of oxygen.
"Strong-smelling silage effluent"
On Monday, July 30th, 2018 the inspector returned to inspect the Tempo River.
Approximately 300 metres from the Drumlone Bridge, the inspector observed extensive sewage fungus on the bed of the river and on the nearby vegetation; the stones were coated in white fungus.
Approximately 400 metres upstream, the inspector discovered a discharge of dark, strong-smelling farm effluent entering the storm pipe close to Rivercool Farm at Coolnagrane.
The inspector met with Mr Armstrong, during the inspection of the yard a discharge of “strong-smelling” silage effluent was discovered flowing into a storm drain at the side of the yard and discharging into the Tempo River.
Live fish were observed directly adjacent to the discharge point in the upstream part of the Tempo River.
In accordance with procedures a statutory sample of the active discharge was collected; the sample of the discharge was analysed and found to contain poisonous, noxious, or polluting matter which was potentially harmful to fish life in the receiving waterway.