A County Fermanagh farmer was convicted today at Enniskillen Magistrates’ Court for water pollution offences that caused a fish kill.

Rodney Elliott (48) of Druminiskill Road, Enniskillen pleaded guilty and was fined a total of £2,500 plus £15 Offenders Levy plus Fish Kill Costs of £267.50.

The Court heard that on June 26, 2018 a Senior Water Quality Inspector (SWQI) and Water Quality Inspector (WQI) colleague, acting on behalf of the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) responded to a report of slurry in a waterway close to Florencecourt. 

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The Inspectors entered the farm premises where they discovered that slurry from the farm premises had flowed down the Druminiskill Road and entered a roadside drain which discharged to the nearby waterway. 

Inland Fisheries colleagues carried out a fish kill survey.

The fish kill was confined to the polluted tributary and no dead fish were observed in the main Arney River.

The Court were told that on August 20, 2018 Inspectors responded to a further report of slurry in the Larganess River close to Florencecourt.

On this occasion, the Inspectors discovered a slurry tank was overflowing and the slurry was discharging to the waterway via roadside gullies. No fish were killed as a result of this pollution incident.  

In accordance with procedures a tripartite statutory sample of the active discharge was collected and analysed and found to contain poisonous, noxious, or polluting matter which was potentially harmful to fish life in the receiving waterway. 

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.   

Anyone wishing to report a pollution incident can call the 24 hour Water Pollution Hotline on: 0800 80 70 60.