Concrete firm fined for ‘severe’ pollution of large section of river

Concrete firm fined for ‘severe’ pollution of large section of river

A CONCRETE manufacturer has been fined for polluting an eight kilometre stretch of river in Northern Ireland.

Tyrone firm Joseph Barrett and Sons Limited, which is located in Eglish Road, Dungannon, was convicted of pollution offences at a hearing at Omagh Magistrates’ Court this week relating to an incident last year.

The court heard that on April 18, 2023, the Northern Ireland Environment Agency’s water quality inspectors responded to a report of suspended solids in the Altamuskin River near Sixmilecross.

“The waterway appeared to be contaminated with suspended solids and this discharge had occurred when a settlement pond was having silt removed causing suspended solids to discharge to the waterway through an overflow pipe,” Northern Ireland’s Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs confirmed in a statement.

“The Inspectors also discovered a grey coloured liquid with the appearance of cement washings exiting a discharge pipe and causing a visible grey coloured plume in the waterway,” they explained.

A sample was taken from the river for sampling, which proved the waste material in the water “contained poisonous, noxious or polluting matter which would have been potentially harmful to aquatic life in a receiving waterway”.

“Back on site, in the vicinity of the lorry wash bay, an active discharge was observed entering a manhole which was traced to the piped discharge point, from where the sample was collected,” the statement added.

The Environment Agency classed the incident as ‘high severity’ which impacted more than eight kilometres of waterway in the river.

The firm was fined £2500 and ordered to pay a £15 offenders levy.