A Co Tyrone farmer was convicted of a water pollution offence at Dungannon Magistrates Court this week. 70-year-old Joseph Wilkinson of Kilcronagh Road in Cookstown was fined £250 plus £15 Offenders Levy.
The Court heard that on the 22nd of June last year, Water Quality Inspectors acting on behalf of the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) responded to a report of water pollution. The Inspectors confirmed the presence of grey water in the Fairy Burn - a tributary of the Ballinderry River - and the source was subsequently traced upstream along the Fairy Burn to Kilcronagh Road.
On the farm, they inspected the silo and observed silage effluent rising in the field beside a silage clamp and flowing over the field. They followed the flow of silage effluent down to the Fairy Burn which was located at the bottom of field.
The court was told there was ponding of silage effluent in several areas of the field and the Fairy Burn was visually clean immediately upstream of the zone of discharge. A sample was analysed and found to contain poisonous, noxious, or polluting matter that was potentially harmful to fish life in the receiving waterway.
Meanwhile, the NIEA is asking those who notice anything suspicious when it comes to water pollution in their area to report it immediately on the 24-hour Water Pollution Hotline 0800 80 70 60.