A FARMER in Co. Down has pleaded guilty to water pollution after fish were found dead in the River Lagan.
Alan Wilson, from Lurgan Road, Dromore, pleaded guilty to a water pollution offence at Craigavon Magistrates’ Court on February 6.
The court heard that dead fish were reported to have been found in the River Lagan, on the evening of August 23, 2022.
The following day a Senior Water Quality Inspector, who was investigating the report on behalf of the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA), found dead fish in the waterway and also on the riverbed.
Further investigation discovered a black plastic pipe which was “discharging brown coloured farm effluent to the River Lagan” a spokesperson for the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) confirmed.
“The contamination was caused by urea fertiliser entering the River Lagan via storm drainage systems on Mr Wilson’s farm,” they added.
A strong odour of ammonia was detected from the waste and a water sample was collected, according to DAERA.
“The sample was analysed and found to contain poisonous, noxious, or polluting matter which was potentially harmful to fish life in the receiving waterway,” they confirmed.
Mr Wilson, aged 56, was fined £750 and ordered to pay a £15 Offenders Levy.
He must also pay £960.64 in compensation to DAERA as a result of the fish kill.