A Northern Irish food company has been fined for causing a discharge of trade effluent to enter a waterway, the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) has said.

Golden Popcorn Ltd. of Orchard Close, Newpark Industrial Estate, Co. Antrim, pleaded guilty and was fined £400 plus £15 Offenders Levy at Antrim Magistrates’ Court sitting in Ballymena.

The court heard that a water quality inspector (WQI) acting on behalf of the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) responded to a report of oil presence in a waterway.

On March 3, 2022, the WQI examined the Hollow Burn and discovered oil presence on the surface of the waterway which was traced upstream to the premises of the food company.

The oil had entered the waterway after a shut-off valve on an oil reception tank had been left open, causing it to overfill and overflow.

As a result, more than 2,500L of rapeseed oil flowed onto the surrounding area before entering the nearby water systems and the Hollow Burn – a tributary of the Six Mile Water river.

In accordance with procedures a tripartite statutory sample was collected.

Golden Popcorn Ltd. was charged under Article 7(2)(a) of the Water (Northern Ireland) Order 1999 as amended by the Water and Sewerage Services (Northern Ireland) Order for the offence.