Cookstown farmer fined for pollution incident

A CO TYRONE farmer has been fined £100 plus £31 court costs at Dungannon Magistrates’ Court for a pollution offence.

On Monday, Mr William Sterling, of Muff Road, Cookstown, was fined for making a polluting discharge to a waterway.

On 13 April 2011, a Water Quality Inspector, acting on behalf of the Northern Ireland Environment Agency inspected an unnamed tributary of the Ballymully River and observed a number of dead invertebrates on the bed of the waterway. Further examination of the waterway upstream confirmed the presence of increasing numbers of pools of dead invertebrates.

On 14 April 2011, Water Quality Inspectors returned to the waterway and at a location adjacent to a farmyard at Muff Road, Cookstown, observed a discharge from a pipe. The discharge was discoloured and contained a visible presence of oil. The source of the polluting discharge was traced to a farm owned by Mr Sterling.

On inspection of the farmyard the Inspectors observed a number of empty pesticide containers.

A sample taken at the time of the incident confirmed that the discharge contained poisonous, noxious or polluting matter which was potentially harmful to fish life in the receiving waterway.

Mr Sterling was charged under Article 7 of the Water (Northern Ireland) Order 1999 with the offence of making a polluting discharge to a waterway.