Greencastle pond pollution claim dismissed by Environment Agency

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Northern Ireland Environment Agency has said there was no sign of water pollution at a Greencastle pond, despite concerns raised by a walker in the area.

A water quality expert was sent to investigate claims about the body of water, near two holiday cottages on Sunday and Monday.

Pictures of alleged pollution in a body of water in Greencastle

Pictures of alleged pollution in a body of water in Greencastle

A spokesman for NIEA said there were “no obvious signs of pollution discharge” at the site off Green Road during those visits and that no water samples were taken.

A Greencastle walker, told the Mail he saw the alleged pollution while taking in the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty on Saturday afternoon.

“It was near the holiday cottages on the Green Road,” he explained.

“We just came across the body of water and then further on down, we came across a stream, where it crossed the original road. That water was just reddy-brown.”

A dead newt

A dead newt

But speaking on Monday, he said, there was little sign left of whatever had coloured the water.

Admitting he is “no expert”, the walker added: “I was brought up on a farm, and I thought it didn’t look normal.

“I was really took back, hairs standing on the back of the neck stuff.

“I was talking to a woman later on that day who said that pond used to be full of ducks. She said the ducks are gone eight or nine months.”

Pictures of alleged pollution in a body of water in Greencastle on Saturday, October 15

Pictures of alleged pollution in a body of water in Greencastle on Saturday, October 15

A number of pictures were submitted to the Mail about the alleged pollution at the pond on Saturday. One contained a dead newt.

The land around the pond is owned by Dalradian Gold.

Dr Brian Kelly, Director of Dalradian Gold told the Mail the “red/orange discolouration” in the pictures “is a natural and a fairly common occurrence” and “is in no way related to our works”.

“Dalradian has not been contacted by the NIEA or any other agency in relation to this issue,” he said.

Pictures of alleged pollution in a body of water in Greencastle on Saturday, October 15

Pictures of alleged pollution in a body of water in Greencastle on Saturday, October 15

“We visited this location on Monday morning and can confirm there is no Dalradian-related activity being carried out at the location at which these pictures or video originates.”

In a statement after this article went to print, the Department for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs, said: “Following a report of pollution on Sunday 16 October, a Water Quality Inspector was tasked to the site to carry out an investigation.

“The officer found no evidence of water pollution and did not observe any pollutions signs, therefore, samples were not lifted.

“A further report was received on Monday 17 October and NIEA Water Quality Inspectors visited the site where the water pollution was reported. Again, they did not find any evidence of water pollution or observe any pollution signs.

“It is to be noted that these pollution reports that were received on 16 and 17 October were in the locality of Teebane, Greencastle, Omagh and the site has not yet been developed by the company.

“As part of NIEA sampling compliance monitoring programme, the site at Curraghinalt was last sampled on 7 October. It is sampled 12 times a year.”

Pictures of alleged pollution in a body of water in Greencastle on Saturday, October 15

Pictures of alleged pollution in a body of water in Greencastle on Saturday, October 15

Meanwhile, the company has been forced to relocate its next public consultations on its proposed mine, after Rouskey Community Centre declined to host them.

The meetings will now take place at the company’s Camcosey Road site on Saturday, November 19 (10am-4pm) and Monday, November 21 (4pm-9pm).

Some Greencastle residents have called on the company to host a consultation in the village that will be most affected by their plans.

Dalradian say the mine will bring 400 jobs to the area.