Fivemiletown Creamery fined £7,500 for polluting river

Published: 11 Dec 2012 15:30

Fivemiletown Creamery has been fined £7,500 for polluting a tributary of the Colebrooke River, which flows into Upper Lough Erne.

Share this image

Fivemiletown Creamery has been fined £7,500 for polluting a tributary of the Colebrooke River, which flows into Upper Lough Erne.

Fermanagh Court heard that the company has spent £100,000 improving its effluent treatment system and the problem is unlikely to recur.

A prosecutor told the court that on January 17, a water quality inspector acting on behalf of the Northern Ireland Environment Agency received a report that the Cleen River was polluted. He inspected it the following day and found that it was "grossly polluted". The water was grey in colour, covered in sewage fungus and contained a large amount of sludge-like particles. It smelt strongly of creamery effluent. Samples were taken which subsequently confirmed that the discharge contained poisonous, noxious or polluting matter which was potentially harmful to fish life. It was also noted that there were blood worms in the water.

The inspector drove to the nearby Fivemiletown Creamery at Ballylurgan, Fivemiletown, and spoke to a production manager, who said he was already aware of the problem. When the inspector returned the following day the discharge had stopped.

The prosecutor explained that the company had a Consent to Discharge, permitting it to legally discharge effluent within certain limits. However, the biological oxygen demand of the effluent was 20 times that of even a poor quality waterway and the amount of suspended solids was more than 38 times the limit.

Defence solicitor Niall Bogue said the creamery was known as the Fivemiletown and Brookeborough Co-operative Agricultural and Dairy Society Ltd.

To which District Judge Liam McNally responded: "No wonder they call themselves Fivemiletown Creamery."

Mr. Bogue said the company had been in discussions with the Northern Ireland Environment Agency since 2009 and after this incident the whole system was pumped out. It was recognised that the effluent treatment system needed to be upgraded. Initially £40,000 was spent improving the system and then in November last year a further £60,000 was invested in a filtration system.

He explained that it was the first time the company had come to the attention of the court for an offence of this nature and asked the District Judge to view it as a "one off". He pointed out that the creamery, which employs around 60 people, had spent £100,000 in difficult trading conditions, and there had been no repetition of the pollution.

The District Judge said it struck him as a "very bad case" and that parliament treated it as a serious offence with a maximum fine of £20,000 when the maximum is normally £5,000.

He said the photographs showed that the drain was "heavily contaminated" with creamery effluent, sludge and sewage scum and there were blood worms in the water.

"It appears to me that must have been obvious to the company," he stated. "It had been like that for a number of days and eventually the pipe was turned off but really that should have been done the minute it was noticed."

The District Judge said he was taking into account the company's admission of guilt, its clear record and the steps which it had taken and was satisfied "that this problem has been rectified and is unlikely to occur again" and he had to give it credit for that.

Jump to first paragraph.

Get more stories from our Roundup section

23 Apr 2014 22:30 • Editorial Department

In tomorrow's Impartial Reporter:

The phone call no mother wants as Ruby Brown tells of the moment she learned of the death of son Richard in a motorbike accident. Read her in-depth and moving interview.

Social: Comments0 comments

23 Apr 2014 21:30

Late Breen strike sends Town into final

Enniskillen Town Utd came from a goal down to book their place in the final of the Impartial Reporter Mulhern Cup with a 2-1 win over Kesh at Ferney Park tonight.

Social:

23 Apr 2014 15:35

Car stolen in "creeper burglary"

A car was stolen during a so-called “creeper burglary” at Raceview Court near the Cornagrade Road in Enniskillen.

Social:

23 Apr 2014 13:15

Castle Archdale hosts Dawn Chorus event

LOCAL people are invited to meet at Castle Archdale at 5am on Saturday, May 3, to listen to the birds welcome the new day in fine voice.

Social:

23 Apr 2014 11:30

Radio DJ includes Fermanagh stop in marathon challenge for charity

A radio DJ will bring her fundraising marathon challenge to Fermanagh this June in aid of Cancer Research UK.

Social:

23 Apr 2014 09:30

Arsonists responsible for 15 gorse fires since beginning of April

Arsonists are being blamed for starting around 15 gorse fires in the Garrison and Belcoo area since the beginning of April.

Social:

22 Apr 2014 17:00

Mallards slip into bottom two

Ballinamallard United slipped into the bottom two in the Danske Bank Premiership on goal difference following today's 2-2 draw with Dungannon Swifts at Ferney Park.

Social:

22 Apr 2014 15:00 • Editorial Department

Opinion - Kylie Noble - Why I’m excited to vote for the first time

The rites of passage of growing up vary from person to person but throughout my own life events such as turning 13, my first formal, my GCSE and A level results, my 18th birthday (and my first and to date only hangover that followed), getting into university and moving away from home are just a few which I imagine are pretty common landmarks among my generation.

Social: Comments0 comments

22 Apr 2014 15:00

Rucksacks stolen in car break-in

A car was broken into at Navar Forest near Derrygonnelly last night (Monday).

Social:

22 Apr 2014 13:00 • Rodney Edwards

Stormont Files: Farm Watch designed to prevent rural crime - O'Neill

FARMERS in Fermanagh are being encouraged by the College of Agriculture, Food and Rural Enterprise (CAFRE) in Enniskillen to take part in the Farm Watch Scheme, an initiative endorsed by Agriculture Minister Michelle O’Neill.

Social:

22 Apr 2014 12:00

Lisnaskea home attacked

A house in Lisnaskea has been attacked.

Social:

22 Apr 2014 11:00 • Rodney Edwards

Stormont Files: Litter droppers approach MLA to quash £75 fine

A NUMBER of people in Fermanagh have been fined £75 for “dropping a cigarette butt or a sweet paper” on the street, according to UUP MLA Tom Elliott.

Social: Comments0 comments

22 Apr 2014 09:00

Motorist knew insurance shown to police had been cancelled

A 47-year-old factory worker has admitted fraudulently using a certificate of car insurance by showing it to the police, knowing it had been cancelled.

Social:

21 Apr 2014 22:30

Man(20) took father's car without consent

A 20-year-old man thought he was being “sensible” when he got behind the wheel of a crashed car to drive it home.

Social:

21 Apr 2014 19:00

Jail sentence for driver caught without insurance four times in two weeks

A 30-year-old car dealer caught driving without insurance four times in two weeks despite paying out £3,500 in premiums has been given a jail sentence.

Social:

21 Apr 2014 17:30

Number out of work in Fermanagh fell by 2.4 per cent in March

Unemployment in Fermanagh fell by 2.4 per cent last month.

Social:

21 Apr 2014 15:00 • Meadhbh Monahan

Steering a safe path of expansion through the downturn

Liam Connolly Road Freight (LCRF) provides groupage services (i.e. from single pallet collections to full double-deck trailer collections) for over 300 customers throughout Ireland and the UK each day.

Social: Comments0 comments

21 Apr 2014 13:00 • Rodney Edwards

Irish President is latest to commend work of Enniskillen church leaders

THE work of Enniskillen’s two main church leaders, the Very Rev. Kenneth Hall and Monsignor Peter O’Reilly, has received a warm acknowledgement from yet another head of state.

Social: Comments0 comments

21 Apr 2014 09:00 • Editorial Department

Not against a community centre but not on ‘our doorstep’

“WE are not against a community centre, we just don’t want it on our doorstep.”

Social: Comments0 comments

20 Apr 2014 19:00

'We want to do it for the supporters' - Davy Black

Clogher Valley coach David Black has vowed to make up for their All Ireland Junior Cup Final defeat by winning the Ulster Towns’ Cup for their supporters when they take on Donaghadee at Ravenhill on Easter Monday.

Social: