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.
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.
Get more stories from our Roundup section
21 Apr 2014 15:00 • Meadhbh Monahan
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.
21 Apr 2014 13:00 • Rodney Edwards
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.
21 Apr 2014 09:00 • Editorial Department
“WE are not against a community centre, we just don’t want it on our doorstep.”
20 Apr 2014 19:00
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.
20 Apr 2014 15:00 • Julie Kenwell
THE family of Bellanaleck toddler, Alfie Keys are nervously looking ahead to this September.
20 Apr 2014 13:00 • Editorial Department
Extreme risks have been identified by the Western Trust which could “compromise client safety” or even lead to “injury or death of patients or staff”.
20 Apr 2014 09:00 • Editorial Department
Tempo Primary’s long serving caretaker - whose family has a long connection with the Fermanagh school - was paid a warm tribute at the start of the school’s Easter Holidays.
19 Apr 2014 21:00 • Brian Donaldson
The countdown to the first election for seats on the new Fermanagh and Omagh District Council on May 22 has begun with the first candidates nominating at Enniskillen Townhall this week.
19 Apr 2014 17:10
Ballinamallard took another step closer to safety as they claimed a share of the spoils at home to Ballymena today.
19 Apr 2014 15:00 • Meadhbh Monahan
Founder of Frack Free Sussex and Britain and Ireland Frack Free, Vanessa Vine visited Enniskillen last Saturday to discuss the local anti-fracking campaign.
19 Apr 2014 13:00 • Editorial Department
A boxing champion shied away from a fight with a man over twice his age only to become embroiled in a road rage incident.
19 Apr 2014 11:00 • Editorial Department
The forty-eight former Fivemiletown milk suppliers have been assured that Fivemiletown and Brookeborough Co-operative and Agricultural Dairy Society (the Society) is debt free and that they will “continue to be paid”.
19 Apr 2014 09:00 • Rodney Edwards
ULSTER Unionist MLA Tom Elliott has joined his party colleagues in voting against the Local Government Bill, the legislation that sets out the powers of the new Super Councils. Mr. Elliott spoke of his concern around community planning ahead of the amalgamation which will see 26 Councils merge into 11, including the amalgamation of Fermanagh District Council and Omagh District Council
19 Apr 2014 08:30
Police can confirm that a male motorcyclist has died following a two vehicle road traffic collision on the Belfast Road in Fivemiletown last night, Friday 18 April.
18 Apr 2014 22:00 • Rodney Edwards
A MAJOR survey into the Orange Order in Fermanagh has found that 92.8 per cent of people who took part in the project believe Catholics are “suspicious” of the organisation.
18 Apr 2014 19:00
By 5pm on Saturday April 26 all the decisions will be made in the Danske Bank Premiership and Championship One. The destination of the title will be decided and who is going down or which teams are facing a play off will be known.
18 Apr 2014 17:00 • Rodney Edwards
ENTERPRISE Minister Arlene Foster says she cannot support the view of local political representatives, including her DUP colleague Maurice Morrow, that the Aventas Group in Derrylin must remain exclusively locally owned.
18 Apr 2014 15:00 • Editorial Department
Charlie Lawson @charlie_lawson1 I’m reliably informed that my alter ego and constant companion is to return, so he is. Must contact The Home Secretary to confirm.
18 Apr 2014 13:00 • Editorial Department
“I am not powerless, I will fight this,” declares Stormont Minister Arlene Foster as she reflects on the fall-out over the proposal by the Western Education and Library Board to amalgamate Portora Royal School with Collegiate Grammar School.