A Co. Armagh farmer has been fined £1,000 for water pollution offences after it was found that a waterway was "grossly polluted".

At Newry Magistrates’ Court yesterday, Desmond Frazer of Ballymoyer Road, Newtownhamilton, Co Armagh pleaded guilty to water pollution offences.

He was fined a total of £1,000 on one count and given a conditional discharge on a second count.

The court heard that on January 30, 2014 a Water Quality Inspector (WQI), acting on behalf of the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA), found a waterway at Hawthorne Lane, Newtownhamilton to be grossly polluted.

This pollution was traced to runoff from silage clamps and animal manure at Frazer’s farm at Ballymoyer Road, Newtownhamilton.

Samples taken by the NIEA confirmed that the discharge was polluting: containing poisonous, noxious or polluting matter which was potentially harmful to fish life.

Follow-up inspections by NIEA staff, carried out on February 4, 2014, April 1, 2014, October 27, 2014 and October 29, 2014, found pollution still escaping.

Frazer was charged under Articles 7(1)(a) and 7(2) of the Water (Northern Ireland) Order. Under the Article 7(1)(a) charge of making a polluting discharge to a waterway Frazer was fined £1,000.

Under the Article 7(2) charge of making a discharge of any trade or sewage effluent to a waterway he was given a conditional discharge.

Silage effluent suspected of causing a major fish kill in Northern Ireland

Earlier this month, silage effluent was the suspected cause of more than 1,000 fish dying in a river near Claudy, Co. Derry, according to Northern Irish Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs.

The incident occurred in a tributary of the River Faughan and the the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) is continuing to investigate a major fish kill near Claudy.

“NIEA was first alerted to this incident on Monday evening (August 1) and staff have been investigating since then.

“Staff from Loughs Agency, who are leading this investigation, are working closely with NIEA to quantify the number and species of fish affected, and the cause, which is suspected to be silage effluent.”

Meanwhile, NIEA staff carried out a river walk to try and find the cause of the pollution.