Callan Renewables Ltd pleaded guilty and were fined £2,000 plus £15 offenders levy at Armagh Magistrates Court sitting in Newry today. A compensation order of £2,836 to cover the fish restocking costs was made.
The Court was told that between 11 June 2018 and 15 June 2018 a Senior Water Quality Inspector (SWQI) and Water Quality Inspector colleagues (WQI) acting on behalf of the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) responded to a report of pollution and dead fish present in a tributary of the Callan River in the Milford area of Co Armagh. This incident was classified as High Severity due to the distance impacted by the pollution and the significant number of fish mortalities.
On arrival the Inspectors observed power washing activity on the yard at the front of the silage clamps. The power washing run-off was flowing onto an uncovered yard area where storm gullies were located. Due to the staining on the ground and power washing activity, a spill from the plant had occurred. The Inspectors noted the dark coloured liquid had entered the storm drains. The Inspectors discovered a black plastic pipe actively discharging a foul smelling liquid, this liquid was flowing in a sheugh below an access lane in the direction of the Monaghan Road. The Inspectors entered the site where they discovered a chamber containing liquid similar in appearance to the liquid that was discharging from the black plastic pipe.
In accordance with NIEA enforcement policy and procedure, statutory samples of the discharges entering the unnamed tributary of the Callan River were collected on 13 and 14 June 2018. The waterway was observed to be impacted for a distance of 3km. The samples taken at the time of the incident had high Biochemical Oxygen Demands with high Total Ammonia, Suspended Solids and Chloride contents confirmed that the discharge contained poisonous, noxious or polluting matter which was potentially harmful to fish life in the receiving waterway.
Anyone wishing to report a pollution incident can call the 24 hour Water Pollution Hotline on 0800 80 70 60.