The Northern Ireland division of LacPatrick Dairies has been fined £2,500 after a leak from its AD plant polluted a nearby river.

LacPatrick Dairies (NI) Ltd. pleaded guilty and was fined £2,500 plus £15 Offender’s Levy at Coleraine Magistrates Court today for causing a polluting discharge to enter a waterway.

On November 9, 2017, water quality inspectors acting on behalf of the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) visited the LacPatrick anaerobic digester on the Creamery Road, Coleraine.

The inspector examined an inspection chamber and discovered a flow of green coloured liquid, a strong odour of silage effluent.

Following procedures, a tripartite sample was collected.

A short time later, the inspectors and representative from LacPatrick AD examined the inspection chamber, the flow in the bottom of the chamber was visually clean with no detectable odour.

The inspectors observed digestate actively discharging to a stormwater gully. During further examinations, a grey liquid was seen flowing across the yard, discharging into a stormwater gully.

The samples taken during this investigation confirmed that the discharges contained polluting matter which was potentially harmful to fish life in the receiving river.

Although the incident occurred long before LacPatrick’s merger with Lakeland Dairies, the company is now part of the Lakeland group.

A spokesman for LacPatrick Dairies (NI) Limited said that the company accepted the ruling of Coleraine Magistrates’ Court today.

“It is essential to note that this was an entirely isolated and unintended occurrence and that the company, as acknowledged by the court, has carried out significant remedial works to address the matter,” he said.

Anyone wishing to report a pollution incident can do so via the 24-hour Water Pollution Hotline on: 0800-807-060.